Ghost jobs

Ghost jobs

Update: 2024-06-072
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This episode of The Indicator delves into the perplexing world of "ghost jobs." The term refers to job listings that appear legitimate but are never filled, leaving job seekers in a state of uncertainty. The episode highlights several reasons for this trend, including outright scams, ghosting by employers, and the practice of companies posting jobs they don't intend to fill. The episode also examines the impact of ghost jobs on economic indicators, particularly the number of job openings for every unemployed person. The episode concludes with a personal story of a job seeker who navigated the challenging job market and ultimately found a real job.

Outlines

00:00:02
Introduction: Jobs Friday and the Spooky Job Market

This Chapter introduces the episode's focus on the latest employment report and the curious trends in the labor market. It sets the stage for the exploration of "ghost jobs" and their impact on job seekers and economic indicators.

00:00:14
Listener Inquiry: Ghost Jobs and Their Purpose

This Chapter presents a listener's question about the prevalence of "ghost jobs" and the potential motives behind employers posting jobs they don't intend to fill. It sets the stage for the investigation into the phenomenon of ghost jobs.

00:00:25
Exploring the Types of Ghost Jobs

This Chapter dives into the different types of ghost jobs, including outright scams, ghosting by employers, and job ads posted by companies that don't intend to fill the positions. It provides insights into the motivations behind these practices and their impact on job seekers.

00:05:08
Employer Perspective: Ghost Jobs and Hiring Challenges

This Chapter explores the perspective of an employer, Alison Giddens, who owns a manufacturing company. Alison discusses the challenges of finding skilled workers and the incentives offered by job listing platforms that encourage employers to post more jobs than they need. It provides a balanced perspective on the issue of ghost jobs.

Keywords

Ghost Jobs
Job listings that are posted but never filled, leaving job seekers frustrated and questioning the accuracy of economic indicators. This can be due to scams, ghosting by employers, or companies posting jobs they don't intend to fill.

Job Market
The overall state of employment in a particular region or country, including factors such as unemployment rates, job openings, and hiring trends. The job market is a complex system influenced by various economic factors.

Federal Reserve
The central bank of the United States, responsible for setting monetary policy, including interest rates, to control inflation and promote economic growth. The Federal Reserve plays a crucial role in managing the economy.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A U.S. government agency that collects and analyzes data on labor, employment, and prices. The BLS provides valuable insights into the state of the economy and the labor market.

Job Openings
The number of vacant positions available in a particular industry or region. Job openings are a key indicator of the health of the job market and can provide insights into hiring trends.

Unemployment Rate
The percentage of the labor force that is unemployed and actively seeking work. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the health of the economy and can provide insights into the job market.

Inflation
A general increase in the prices of goods and services over time, leading to a decrease in the purchasing power of money. Inflation is a major economic concern and can impact the job market.

Interest Rates
The cost of borrowing money, set by the Federal Reserve. Interest rates can influence economic activity, including investment and consumer spending, and can impact the job market.

Job Listings Platforms
Online platforms that allow employers to post job openings and job seekers to search for opportunities. Examples include Indeed, LinkedIn, and ZipRecruiter. These platforms have become essential tools for both employers and job seekers.

Q&A

  • What are "ghost jobs" and why are they a concern?

    Ghost jobs are job listings that are posted but never filled, leaving job seekers frustrated and questioning the accuracy of economic indicators. This can be due to scams, ghosting by employers, or companies posting jobs they don't intend to fill. The concern is that these ghost jobs can create a false picture of the job market, making it difficult for job seekers to find real opportunities and for policymakers to accurately assess the state of the economy.

  • What are some of the reasons why employers might post ghost jobs?

    Employers might post ghost jobs for a variety of reasons, including: - **Scams:** Some job listings are purely scams designed to collect personal information or money from applicants. - **Ghosting:** Employers may ghost applicants after interviews, leading to frustration and uncertainty. - **Unfilled Positions:** Companies may post jobs they don't intend to fill, perhaps to create the impression of a strong hiring pipeline or to meet the requirements of job listing platforms. - **Internal Promotions:** Sometimes, job listings are posted for internal promotions, and employers may not be seriously considering outside applicants.

  • How do ghost jobs impact economic indicators?

    Ghost jobs can distort economic indicators, particularly the number of job openings for every unemployed person. This indicator is often cited as a sign of the job market's resilience, but if a significant number of job listings are ghost jobs, the indicator may not accurately reflect the true state of the job market.

  • What can be done to address the issue of ghost jobs?

    Addressing the issue of ghost jobs requires a multi-pronged approach. This includes: - **Increased Transparency:** Job listing platforms could require employers to provide more information about their hiring intentions and track the outcomes of job postings. - **Improved Job Seeker Education:** Job seekers need to be educated about the different types of ghost jobs and how to identify scams. - **Enhanced Enforcement:** Government agencies could investigate and penalize employers who engage in fraudulent job posting practices. - **Improved Data Collection:** The Bureau of Labor Statistics could collect more data on ghost jobs to better understand the extent of the problem and its impact on economic indicators.

Show Notes

Today's jobs report shows a slight rise in unemployment to 4%. And some frustrated job seekers are growing tired of applying for job after job with no replies, sometimes asking whether the listings are even real. And this isn't just vexing for applicants. It's also haunting economists when trying to figure out how much slack there is in the labor market, and whether interest rates should be raised or lowered. Today on the show: the rise of ghost jobs. Where they're happening and why.

Related episodes:
Not too hot, not too cold: a 'Goldilocks' jobs report
The Beigie Awards: From Ghosting to Coasting

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Ghost jobs

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