Subscribe

US job openings highest since 2001, but hiring slips (+video)

US job openings reached 4.84 million in August, according to the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It was the highest number of openings since 2001, the year the government began tracking JOLTS data. 

  • close
    Matt Fahr, left, sales manager with the Charlotte Hornets, speaks with High Point University freshman, Kule Kubanka, about career opportunities, during a career day at the Slane Student Center in Haigh Point, N.C. Job openings in August reached their highest level in 13 years, but hiring fell, according to a Labor Department survey released Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.
    , Laura Greene/The Enterprise/AP/FIle
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The number of open jobs in the US reached its highest level in over a decade last month, even as employers slowed down hiring. 

US job openings reached 4.84 million in August, according the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey (JOLTS), released monthly. That was much higher than the 4.7 million economists were expecting and an increase of over 200,000 openings from July, which was revised downward to 4.6 million jobs.

August had the most open jobs since 2001, the year the Labor Department began tracking JOLTS data.

Education and health care services led the charge with new open jobs, followed by leisure and hospitality. But despite the surge in open positions, hires in the US actually fell in every category but the government sector.

“Looking beyond the monthly volatility in hires, the August JOLTS data are consistent with diminished labor market slack,” Barclays Research economist Jesse Hurwitz wrote in an e-mailed statement.

Workers, too, are feeling better about their hiring prospects. The “quit rate,” which measures workers confidence in their ability to find another job, stayed near a post-recession high (1.8 percent). The number of unemployed job seekers per job opening fell to 1.98 from 2.10 in July.

The JOLTS survey comes on the heels of the government’s latest monthly employment report. The economy added 248,000 jobs in September, ticking the unemployment rate below 6 percent for the first time since the start of the Great Recession.  It was a better showing than expected, and from looking at the headlining numbers over the past several months, it’s easy to get the notion that the job market has fully recovered.

But worries linger: The labor participation rate is still at its lowest level in nearly four decades. Some of that can be explained away by an aging Boomer population retiring in greater and greater numbers, but a declining participation rate among younger workers as well is a particular concern.

Furthermore, wages have barely budged, rising a measly 0.1 percent in September and 2 percent year over year. If that continues, experts say, it could seriously hamper the economy’s full recovery.

Still, there is mounting evidence that the labor market is improving. The Federal Reserve’s Labor Market Conditions Index, updated Monday, showed continued tightening, and certain sectors could soon have to pay workers more in wages should that continue.

The good JOLTS report did little to move the stock market, which was down midday Tuesday on weak economic data out of Europe. 

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK