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Job-Hunters, You Can Be Picky Again: Openings Are Taking Longer to Fill

It’s taking employers longer to fill job openings than it has since at least 2001. While that’s inconvenient for companies, it’s great news for job applicants and the economy as a whole. It means that demand for labor is good enough that workers can afford to be a bit choosier about where they take jobs.

The numbers come from the Dice Hiring Indicators report. As the chart above shows, the average duration of job vacancies rose in April to 23.9 working days. That’s the highest since the inception of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey—the raw material for the Dice report—in December 2000. The duration of vacancies is up 55 percent from its low point in 2009.

Dice is a company that provides websites for hiring and recruiting. The longer jobs are vacant, on average, the more eager companies are to fill them and the more leverage job candidates have. As vacancy durations have lengthened, “employers are being more aggressive in buying out candidates’ current compensation,” Dice Chief Executive Michael Durney said in a press release. At the same time, “more employers [are] stepping up retention programs to keep their current staff content.” For workers, it’s nice to be wanted again.

Coy is Bloomberg Businessweek's economics editor. His Twitter handle is @petercoy.

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