Obama vs. Romney: How weak is the job market?Loading


    Many analysts point out that the unemployment rate would be even higher if it included millions of Americans who have given up looking for work. (The government counts people as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.) Nearly 12.8 million people were unemployed in July. But Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, prefer to cite a different figure: One that also includes people no longer looking for a job and people working part time who would prefer full-time work. When you add up those groups, plus the unemployed, you end up with 23.5 million, or an "under-employment" rate of 15 percent.
    MANNY CRISOSTOMO | mcrisostomo@sacbee.com


    The government's monthly calculation of how many open jobs are available has shown improvement. But it remains below pre-recession levels. In June, the most recent data available, employers posted 3.8 million available jobs - and 57 percent more than in July 2009, a month after the recession ended. Before the recession, job openings regularly topped 4 million. And employers aren't filling their openings very quickly. Actual hiring is up only 19 percent since July 2009 - a much smaller increase than the increase in openings. The job openings report provides perhaps the best gauge of what the job market feels like for the unemployed. In June, an average of 3.4 unemployed people were competing for each open job. That's down sharply from its peak of 7 to 1 in July 2009. But in a healthy economy, the ratio is usually about 2 to 1.
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