There are a lot of open jobs out there.
Some 5.4 million, in fact, according to Fed Chair Janet Yellen's favorite statistic, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. That's the most since they started measuring the thing in 2000.
So that's a good thing, right? Business must be booming if millions of "Help Wanted" signs are going up.
"Some will spin the number as a positive sign for the economy," said Gary Beach, publisher emeritus of CIO Magazine, in an email. "Others, including me, see it as damming evidence that there is a huge mismatch between what employers want in workers and what skills job candidates bring to the table."
Or it could be that employers and workers can't agree on a price.
"Perhaps unsurprisingly, research shows that recruitment intensity is cyclical—it tends to be stronger when the labor market is strong, and weaker when the labor market is weak," wrote economist Elise Gould on the Economic Policy Institute's blog. "This means that when a job opening goes unfilled and the labor market is weak, as it is today, companies may very well be holding out for an overly-qualified candidate at a cheap price."
The answer is probably a little of both—some shortcomings in the general worker skill set and a general reluctance to increase wages. Time and demand, economics teaches us, will conquer both. High wages will draw workers with skills and convince others to learn those skills.
That is, of course, if realities like off-shoring or worker-visa contractors don't derail economic theory.
In the meantime, it's a pretty big hole to fill.