Bosses Are Taking Their Time Making New Hires

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The average vacant position in the U.S. will sit unfilled for about 25 work days, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Many an interviewee who has been through hoops in order to land a job might say 25 days doesn’t sound so bad. But on average, that’s the longest bosses have taken to plug holes in more than a decade.

Hiring managers’ trigger fingers have grown timid when it comes to filling empty spots, the Journal reports:

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Economists and employers say there is no single cause for the slow hiring pace, but the lag time can be read as a proxy for corporate confidence in the economy. On one hand, companies are feeling sunny enough to post jobs—openings reached 4.7 million in June, the highest number since 2001—but, fearful the economy could falter, they are finding it hard to commit to hires.

The Journal cites data collected by economist Steven Davis.

A strong economy can lend itself to a longer time between hires because less people are looking for work. In recent times, the shortest amount of time between job posting and hire came—you guessed it—in the wake of the financial crisis, when plenty of laid-off workers were looking for new jobs.

However, Davis notes wages have not been rising with the increase in job postings, indicating employers aren’t “bidding up” for talent to fill them. That makes managers’ hesitance and increased due diligence more likely culprits for the hiring lag. After all, a good hire can be hard to find, and replacing workers tends to be pretty expensive.

The country’s quit rate — gauging the percentage of employees that leave their jobs voluntarily —is also on the rise. That’s usually considered a good sign for the economy as well, because it indicates workers are confident they can find new work. Davis’s findings suggest that quitting workers who haven’t already secured new gigs might want to have at least a good month-long nest egg before doing so.

[WSJ]