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Two of last week's AJC PolitiFact Georgia items explored employment in the past and future Two of last week's AJC PolitiFact Georgia items explored employment in the past and future

Two of last week's AJC PolitiFact Georgia items explored employment in the past and future

By Laura Schulte June 18, 2021

Grothman right on claim that 9.3 million jobs are open in U.S.

If Your Time is short

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in early June 2021 released a report showing the U.S. had 9.3 million of openings

Thanks to the crush of COVID, the U.S. last year went from low unemployment rates to record high numbers.

But as more people have been vaccinated, and the economy continues to gain steam, things are shifting once again. Across the country, employers added 559,000 jobs in May alone, according to a June 4, 2021 report from USA Today.

But many businesses can’t find enough workers to fill the positions.

Many Republican lawmakers blame the additional $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits, saying it makes it lucrative for would-be workers to stay on the sidelines. Democrats argue the situation is more complex, involving child-care issues and other matters.  

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisconsin, has called for an end to the additional benefits to help incentivize people to return to work. In a June 8, 2021 tweet, Grothman noted: "We have a record 9.3 million job openings in the U.S." 

That is, well, a very big number.

It’s more than the entire population of New Jersey. And of 39 other states, including Wisconsin. It’s more than 16 times the population of Wyoming, which at just about 579,000 residents is the nation’s smallest. 

Is Grothman right?

Does the country really have that many job openings waiting to be filled? 

Featured Fact-check

Number of vacant jobs is high, thanks to pandemic

Grothman’s tweet was, in part, a retweet of one from Republican on the House Committee on Small Business. That tweet included a link to a June 8, 2021 CNBC report about the record number of open jobs, which mentioned that the number was pulled directly from a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics news release. 

So, let’s go back to the source: According to the June 8, 2021 release, there were, indeed 9.3 million jobs open, as of the final week of April 2021.

The Bureau calculates the number of job openings through random samples of more than  20,000 nonfarm businesses and government establishments across a database of more than 9 million businesses. The estimates are then adjusted for seasonal differences. Open jobs are considered positions with work available, a job that could start within 30 days or if the employer is actively recruiting workers, according to the bureau.

There are plenty of reasons that number is so high, according to a June 8, 2021 CNN Business report. Some people still feel unsafe due to COVID. Many parents are juggling childcare and other at-home responsibilities that were exacerbated by the pandemic. Others are thinking about compensation levels and better-paying jobs or careers, while still others need training in order to be qualified for key positions.

Even though U.S. employers hired more than 6 million people in April alone, millions of jobs were still unfilled. The CNN report noted that employers may have to get creative to fill open spots, maybe even by raising minimum salaries. 

To be sure, the numbers are from April, and the picture may have changed somewhat in May and June. But Grothman is relying on the latest numbers, and can’t be faulted for using them.

Our ruling 

Grothman said in a tweet there were 9.3 million jobs open across the country. 

As eye-popping as the number is, the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for April, show that is accurate.

We rate his claim True. 


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More by Laura Schulte

Grothman right on claim that 9.3 million jobs are open in U.S.

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