Another Sign of Tighter Labor Markets: Time to Fill Rates Getting Longer

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With the economy adding jobs at the fastest clip since the depression began eight years, it’s taking longer and longer to fill vacancies. In January, the national average was almost 26 working days, an increase of 3.5 days in the 12 months from the previous January.

The Dice-DFH Mean Vacancy Duration Measure, a sophisticated measure of how long it’s taking employers to fill jobs, came in at 25.7 working days. That’s just off from the 15-year high of 26.5 days recorded for last August.

“U.S. labor markets continue to tighten, albeit at a modest pace,” said Dr. Steven Davis, William H. Abbott professor of International Business and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and co-creator of the vacancy measure. “Evidence of labor market tightening is seen in rising vacancy durations and declining unemployment rates.”

Health care jobs take longest to fill

The government said unemployment declined to 5.5 percent in February from 5.7 percent the previous month. That’s the lowest national unemployment rate since May 2008.2015-03_Mean_Vacancy_Duration_Table

Some jobs and several industry sectors take significantly longer to fill than the national average. According to the Dice-DHF Measure, health sector jobs take the longest; on average it takes 42.8 working days to fill a health care job. IT and financial services jobs take 37.5 and 37.8 days respectively. For information sector jobs, the time to fill is on the rise, after declining to 34.8 days last year.

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“Demand for qualified professionals is growing exponentially, particularly in tech & clearance, and industry unemployment rates are declining,” observed Michael Durney, president & CEO of Dice Holdings Inc., parent company of the IT careers site and sponsor of the vacancy measurement program.

Construction and hospitality fill fast

The easiest jobs to fill are those in construction and in leisure and hospitality. It takes nine days on average to fill a construction job, the quickest fill time of all sectors tracked by the Dice-DHF Measure. Although the construction industry is expanding rapidly, adding 321,000 workers since February 2014, some 19.8 million jobs were lost between the official start of the recession in December 2007 and its official end, 18 months later.

Leisure and hospitality job fill time is 21 working days on average.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


3 Comments on “Another Sign of Tighter Labor Markets: Time to Fill Rates Getting Longer

  1. Part of the longer time is due to the lack of candidates that can pass the mandatory drug tests. It is staggering to have to go through 150 people to find 14 candidates that can qualify.

  2. zipzag is right about the drug testing, another problem is “personable” people skills, those under the age of 30 need to put their dern phones away and work on their people/customer service skills. You don’t text/use shorthand words in this part of the job.

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