With the economy adding jobs at the fastest clip since the recession began eight years ago, it’s taking longer and longer to fill vacancies. In January, the national average was almost 26 working days, an increase of 3.5 days in the 12 months from the previous January.
The Dice-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure, a sophisticated measure of how long it’s taking employers to fill jobs, came in at 25.7 working days. That’s just off from the 15 year high of 26.5 days recorded for last August.
“U.S. labor markets continue to tighten, albeit at a modest pace,” said Dr. Steven Davis, William H. Abbott Professor of International Business and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and co-creator of the vacancy measure. “Evidence of labor market tightening is seen in rising vacancy durations and declining unemployment rates.”
The government said unemployment declined to 5.5% in February from 5.7% the previous month. That’s the lowest national unemployment rate since May 2008.
Some jobs and several industry sectors take significantly longer to fill than the national average. According to the Dice-DHF Measure, health sector jobs take the longest; on average it takes 42.8 working days to fill a healthcare job. IT and financial services jobs take 37.5 and 37.8 days respectively. For information sector jobs, the time to fill is on the rise, after declining to 34.8 days last year.
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“Demand for qualified professionals is growing exponentially, particularly in tech & clearance, and industry unemployment rates are declining,” observed Michael Durney, President & CEO of Dice Holdings Inc., parent company of the IT careers site Dice.com and sponsor of the vacancy measurement program.
The easiest jobs to fill are those in construction and in leisure and hospitality. It takes 9 days on average to fill a construction job, the quickest fill time of all sectors tracked by the Dice-DHF Measure. Although the construction industry is expanding rapidly, adding 321,000 workers since February 2014, some 19.8 million jobs were lost between the official start of the recession in December 2007 and its official end, 18 months later.
Leisure and hospitality job fill time is 21 working days on average.