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The U.S. job market is tight and getting tighter, with a broad set of skills in hot demand, according to the Federal Reserve's latest read of economic conditions as seen by its various districts.
In the Fed's latest Beige Book summary of economic activity, the central bank said that employment grew "modestly or moderately across most of the nation," but added that employers are finding it ever harder to land the right workers for the right jobs.
"Employers throughout the country continued to report tight labor markets and difficulties finding qualified workers," the report said, noting several occupations in particular where demand is high but supply is short. The skills gap has been bedeviling companies all year as job openings outnumber job seekers.
Those fields are engineering, finance, sales, construction and manufacturing, information technology and trucking.
"A couple of Districts reported that worker shortages were restraining growth in some sectors," the report noted. "Many firms reported high turnover rates and difficulties retaining employees."
To bridge the gap, employers in some cases are raising wages, though the Fed noted that paycheck growth is only "modest or moderate" overall. Instead, companies are often using nonwage measures such as signing bonuses, flexible schedules, and more vacation time to lure and keep talent.
Conditions varied by district, though. San Francisco characterized job growth as "robust," a term the Dallas district also used to describe wage increases.
The report comes as Fed officials consider the U.S. to be around full employment. The unemployment rate is 3.7 percent, a nearly 50-year low, while average hourly earnings rose at a 2.8 percent pace in September, just off the highest level since the recovery began in mid-2009.
In addition, a recent Labor Department report showed 7.1 million job openings in the U.S., well ahead of the 6.2 million Americans considered unemployed.