Job Openings Hit 13-Year High

Friday, August 15, 2014
Job openings 2004-2014 (graphic: Steve Straehley; data: Dept. of Labor)

Good news for those seeking work: U.S. employers reported in June having the most job openings since 2001, indicating the labor market is moving in the right direction.

Employment notices totaled 4.7 million in June, which was not only the highest total since 2001, and an increase from May’s 4.6 million jobs, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

Another improvement from May to June: The number of workers hired rose from 4.7 million to 4.8 million. The Labor Department also reported that the number of Americans willing to quit their jobs went up, from 2.49 million in May to 2.53 million in June. The latter was the highest total since June 2008.

 

 “Companies posting more job openings and stepping up hires typically reflects stronger sales and an improved outlook for the U.S. economy. And when more workers voluntarily quit jobs, that’s usually a sign they are confident enough they’ll find other—often better-paying—jobs,” Josh Mitchell wrote at The Wall Street Journal.

 

The one discordant note is that hiring has not risen at the same rate as job openings. Openings are up 17.6% in the past year, while hires have increased only 9.3%. Some economists say it’s because companies might not be offering high enough wages, according to the Associated Press. That could change, as the ratio of job seekers to jobs has fallen to 2.0 from about 2.6 at the beginning of the year and employers might have to boost salaries to attract the talent they want.

 

Others say the disparity is because of a mismatch between the jobs that are available and the skills of job seekers. For example, a former factory worker wouldn’t necessarily be qualified to fill a nursing position.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

U.S. Job Openings Hit 13-Year High (by Josh Mitchell, Wall Street Journal)

US Job Openings in June Hit 13-Year-Plus High (by Josh Boak, Associated Press)

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights June 2014 (pdf) (Department of Labor)

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