At the end of May of 2018, there were 6.6 million unfilled jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s down just slightly from the record 6.8 million that were unfilled in April.
For the most part, that’s good news for the economy. It means that the labor market is strong, business is generally good, and companies have money to hire talent.
But despite a slight dip from April to May, the number of unfilled jobs hasn’t really changed in the last few years. Some jobs are going unfilled for months, sometimes longer. A year ago, there were 6.2 million unfilled jobs, according to CNN. While new jobs represent a strong economy, the amount of unfilled jobs also points to at least one area of weakness.
As CNN points out, “employers increasingly say they can’t find skilled and available workers to fill their open positions.” More jobs open up, but the pool of talent to fill those jobs stays the same.
But where exactly are these jobs that are clamoring for workers with the right skills?
Without getting into the reasons why or the solutions (we’ll save that for a later post) here, by the numbers, are the industries with the most unfilled jobs:
Professional and business services

With over a million jobs currently open, this industry is desperate need for more skilled workers.
Professional and business services encompass all the activities and services that a company might provide for someone else. This can include everything from a company that provides accounting and financial services to waste management to administration support.
As an example, EY (formerly Ernst & Young) is one of the most well-known professional services companies.
Health and education
According to the Department of Labor, there are well over a million jobs open in this sector.
In Colorado, rural areas are feeling the effects of teacher shortages, as the number of people completing teacher prep programs fell by 24 percent. Nationwide, the same statistic has dipped by 21 percent since 2010.
In healthcare, we a similar gap between an increasing demand for workers like nurses, lab technicians, and at-home nurse aides, and a decline in the number of people completing training programs in those fields. These are positions that require less training and education than other medical fields, but still need specialized skills.
Leisure and hospitality
In an industry that accounts for 1 out of every 10 jobs in the world, it’s currently suffering from just a hair under a million unfilled jobs in the U.S.
Leisure and hospitality can include everything from the reception worker at your hotel up to workers at bars or restaurants.
As the hospitality industry is expected to continue to grow in the coming years and decades, the number of unfilled jobs is also expected to rise.
Comparatively, it might not seem like manufacturing is hurting as much as other industries, with nearly 450,000 jobs currently sitting unfilled.
But that’s still a huge number, and manufacturing is one of the biggest contributors to the U.S. economy. It also happens to require some pretty specialized skills.
On the current trajectory, that number is expected to balloon to over 2 million unfilled jobs within the next 10 years, according to Deloitte.
Trade, transportation and utilities

With over 1.2 million jobs open, this industry can’t find support quickly enough.
Jobs in these categories include everything from plumbers and electricians to truck drivers and people who work on appliances. So in other words, really important stuff that affects our day-to-day lives.
These are the types of jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, but still require specialized skills with post-secondary training and education. In Colorado, this labor shortage is expected to hinder economic growth, even though the economy will remain strong overall.
It’s important to remember that a job shortage in the education sector doesn’t just apply to teachers, just as a shortage in hospitality doesn’t mean they’re only looking for waiters.
All of these industries require workers with technological expertise, administrators, accountants and other skills that don’t necessarily directly relate to these industries. It’s a big problem that will require a lot of effort to resolve — but, like we said, we’ll save that for another post.
Related posts:
· How Arapahoe/Douglas Works! is solving the employment crisis
· Will artificial intelligence really take all our jobs?