Was There Ever a ‘Skills Mismatch’ in Labor Market? Not Likely

Perhaps the most encouraging data produced by the BLS has been within its JOLTS figures, those of Job Openings. It is one data series that policymakers watch closely and one which they purportedly value more than most. While the unemployment and participation rates can be caught up in structural labor issues (heroin and retirees), Job Openings are related to the demand for labor rather than the complications on the labor supply side.

It has been the surge of Job Openings since January 2014 that has been both misleading and comforting for economists and monetary authorities. This robust trend that suddenly appeared out of nowhere seemed to confirm economic acceleration that really wasn’t there, and in the years since they were fooled by it (and other data) policymakers in particular have used it to justify their so-called skills mismatch explanation for why they got 2014 so wrong.

But even the Job



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