The vast majority of Americans getting new jobs aren't even looking for new jobs

Most people who get new jobs aren’t even looking new jobs.

That’s according a new research paper by Carlos Carrillo-Tudela, Bart Hobijn, Patryk Perkowski, and Ludo Visschers, published by the San Francisco Fed.

The results of their study show that “
more than three-quarters of workers who switched employers did not report active job search in the previous three months. Thus the bulk of job-to-job transitions does not adhere to the usual interpretation of the labour market matching process in which employees actively seek out job openings posted by employers.”

And it’s not just people with jobs. 63.1% of people who go from not employed to employed make that transition without looking for work. This is huge because the basis of the most widely-cited monthly unemployment rate figure — which currently stands at 5.5% — is based on asking people 1) if they have a job, and 2) if they are searching for one. You can’t count as unemployed unless you are looking for a job.

At 67.9%, the vast majority of people who fill new positions haven’t reported looking for a new job.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that people who sit on their thumbs magically find jobs, though. What it probably means is that the majority of new hires come from either 1) head hunters recruiting people for new jobs when they aren’t looking, or 2) people who have just quit or been laid off/fired finding employment within the first month of their search. In the latter example, those people would actually be unemployed and searching, but not for long enough to show up in the government’s survey data.

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