Which Industries Saw the Most Workers Waiting on the Sidelines During the Recession?

By Joseph Lawler

The Urban Institute's Stephan Lindner takes a look at which industries have had the most unemployed workers available per job opening during the recession:

The number of workers available for each position went up in almost every industry during the recession. Construction was a clear outlier, peaking at nearly 30 unemployed workers for every open job in 2009. That ratio still hasn't come down below 10:1. Although not nearly as pronounced, the spike in unemployed manufacturing workers per manufacturing job available also grew more pronounced than others.

I'm not exactly sure how to interpret this chart, other than to say that it's obvious that construction and, to a lesser extent, manufacturing, are the sectors of the economy most sensitive to the business cycle. Interestingly, education and public sector jobs saw almost no increase in the ratio of unemployed workers to open jobs at the start of the recession, and that number has only crept up slightly as the public sector has retrenched over the past few years to bring state and local budgets into balance.

Joseph Lawler is editor of RealClearPolicy. He can be reached by email or on twitter.

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