The national unemployment rate dropped, and hiring spiked, but it’s not all good news for the unemployed. According to the Associated Press, companies and governments posted 3.16 million job openings in November, down from 3.22 million in October and 3.4 million in September.

That means job seekers have less jobs to find. Right now, 4.2 job seekers are going for each available position.

“In any given month, more than three-quarters of job seekers are not going to find a job, no matter what they do,” said Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington D.C. “It really is just an unbelievably inhospitable environment for job seekers right now.”

In a functioning labor market, there would be one unemployed person for every available job. Numbers close to that threshold could be found in December of 2000. Even right before the recession, the ratio was 1.5:1.

Shierholz said the staggering numbers of today are not a reflection on the work force; the unemployed have not become lazy and unproductive.

Shierholz continued, “The jobs just aren’t there. Literally, no matter what they do…if the job’s aren’t there, you’re not going to create jobs out of thin air.”

Still, the numbers are better than where they were at the peak of the recession – 6.9:1 in the summer of 2009.