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Despite everything you hear, this country may have more job openings than it can fill.

According to The Wall Street Journal, there is a growing gap between the amount of jobs available and the number of people who actually get hired to fill these positions.

“Since the economy bottomed out in mid-2009, the number of job openings has risen more than twice as fast as actual hires, a gap that didn't appear until much later in the last recovery,” the Journal reports. “The disparity is most notable in manufacturing, which has had among the biggest increases in openings.”

In fact, the Journal notes that if all of the job openings in the U.S. were filled in a timely manner, there would be as many as 5 million more Americans employed right now. So what gives? Are employers being too picky or do Americans just not want to work?

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As it turns out, there are a few potential factors at play. While some employers admit they receive more applications than they know what to do with, others are receiving surprisingly few. The Journal notes that this may be partly due to the fact that unemployment benefits now last for a full 99 weeks, thereby reducing the urgency for out-of-work Americans to find a new job. (Although it’s worth noting that many economists disagree with this logic.) Besides, the Journal also points out that millions of Americans are unable to relocate for a new job because they are tied to homes racked with debt.

If this is true, then it effectively undermines much of the first stimulus effort (and perhaps negates the need for a second stimulus). After all, what’s the point of creating thousands more jobs if Americans won’t take advantage of the ones that are already out there?

Readers, we want to hear from you. Have you turned down decent job offers during the recession? And if so, why?

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