The job market may have a current record high of 9.2 million openings, but little change in the unemployment rate could be a sign that companies are learning how to do more with less while workers are reconsidering what their futures hold.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of openings is a near-perfect match for the 9.3 million Americans who remain unemployed. Economic data shows that over the last 16 months, output nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021—down 0.5% from the end of 2019, despite workers putting in 4.3% fewer hours.

Between workers changing location during the pandemic or preferences on their work, as well unemployment benefits and relief checks, workers are becoming choosier with jobs. As a result, companies are seeking alternatives when it comes to getting the work done, meaning a shortage will still be underway, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“When demand falls, it’s a natural time to retool or invest because you won’t lose customers or sales while you tinker and shut things down,” Brad Hershbein, senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research said.

Many Americans are also reconsidering their occupations on the whole, and may need retraining as the economy sees fewer jobs in retail, hospitality, car dealerships and meat packing facilities, a report on the nature of work after the COVID-19 crisis suggested.

Susan Lund, head of the McKinsey Global Institute, said the nation will need to amp up short-term training and credentialing programs for large amount of workers looking to change careers.

“We think that there is a very real scenario in which a lot of the large employment, low-wage jobs in retail and in food service just go away in the coming years,” Lund told The Washington Post.

construction-worker-safety-construction-workers As job openings remain high, so does unemployment --- a sign the U.S. may need to retrain workers. Photo: Creative Commons