Record competition and tighter screening mean long waits for work

You would have to go back about 70 years to find a time in U.S. history when it was tougher to find a job than it is now. There are 15.1 million people unemployed and as of August, there were 6.3 people for every open full time position, according to the AP. And if that were not bad enough, companies are much pickier than they have been in the past -- sometimes conducting eight interviews after which they just leave candidates hanging for months, reports The New York Times.

The latest statistics on job competition are sobering. That ratio of 6.3:1 -- representing the number of unemployed to the number of unfilled positions -- is based on 14.9 million unemployed to 2.4 million openings in August 2009. I am not sure how they come up with these numbers but, as I wrote earlier, a big reason for the substantial gap is that many of the people who are looking for work are not qualified for the jobs that are open. This suggests a skills mismatch (and a training opportunity) of epic proportions.