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Federal Reserve Member: Fake Job Vacancies Called ‘Purple Squirrel Vacancies’ Inflating Available Jobs Numbers

Federal Reserve Member: Fake Job Vacancies Called ‘Purple Squirrel Vacancies’ Inflating Available Jobs Numbers

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Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

The latest jobs reports were good by most accounts. In May, the U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs despite threats of an economic slowdown and rapidly rising inflation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on June 3.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent, just above the lowest level since December 1969, CNBC reported

“Despite the slight cool down, the tight labor market is clearly sticking around and is shrugging off fears of a downturn,” Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s senior economist, told CNBC. “We continue to see signs of a healthy and competitive job market, with no signs of stepping on the brakes yet.”

Job openings did drop by 455,000 in April, from an upwardly revised 11.855 million in March, CNBC reported. This number still outnumbers available workers.

But one federal reserve member said the U.S. might not want to celebrate these numbers. According to Christopher Waller, a Federal Reserve governor, fake job vacancies called “purple squirrel vacancies” are falsely boosting available job numbers.

Employment recruiters use the term purple squirrel to describe a job candidate with precisely the right education, set of experience, and range of qualifications that perfectly fits a job’s requirements. In order to attract these hard-to-find purple squirrel will keep job postings up for an excessive amount of time. Finding purple squirrels ” takes a ridiculous amount of effort to identify and hire them,” Inc. reported.


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Some economists believe that there is a growing number of employers posting so-called purple squirrel vacancies to be left up indefinitely in the hope of finding a perfect candidate, The Financial Times reported. When an employer posts “purple squirrel” vacancies they receive a flood of candidates they might have otherwise not attracted.

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“These are purple squirrel vacancies,” Waller told reporters after a speech to the Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability in Frankfurt on May 30. “They’re not real.”

Because of these fake job listings, labor might not be as in demand as it seems, explained Waller.
Some companies have still to “clean up” their job ads after trying for months to backfill for employees who quit during the pandemic, Cathi Canfield of industrial staffing group EmployBridge, told the Financial Times.

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