Workers Staying Put at the Jobs They Have

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 08:44 AM

By Elliot Jager

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One sign that the economy remains sluggish is that workers who have jobs are holding onto them.

The Labor Department did not release its monthly snapshot of employment and unemployment on Friday because of the partial government closure. That report would have measured all jobs created in a month, minus all the ones that were lost.

But, according to The Wall Street Journal, it would be equally helpful to look beneath the surface and see that "Workers aren't quitting their jobs to pursue better opportunities.
Companies aren't filling positions when they do open up."

And fewer workers have been taking a chance on switching jobs.

"Nobody's leaving for a better job," Jason Faberman, a Federal Reserve Bank economist, told the Journal, "which means positions aren't opening up for the unemployed."

This stagnation also makes it tough on any anyone, particularly younger people in their prime, who want to switch jobs in order to earn a higher salary.

"If you miss that window when you're young, that could have really long-term consequences," said Toshihiko Mukoyama, a University of Virginia economist. "They cannot go up the job ladder."

Another Federal Reserve official, Dennis Lockhart told the Journal: "We see a picture in which fewer firms are expanding employment, and each expanding firm is adding fewer new jobs on average than in the past. Fewer people are being laid off or are quitting their job, and firms are hiring fewer people. In other words, the employment dynamics of the U.S. economy are slower."

What's behind the trend is unclear. Economists cite an aging population, a shift toward bigger businesses, and the erosion of middle-skill jobs, according to the Journal.
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