Job seekers, right, speak with recruiters (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

U.S. Job Openings Rise to Record, Exceeding Number of Unemployed

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose to a fresh record in April, with vacancies increasingly exceeding the number of unemployed workers amid a robust labor market, Labor Department data showed Tuesday.

Highlights of Job Openings (April)

  • Number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 65k to 6.698m (est. 6.35m) from a revised 6.633m in March., acc. to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey or JOLTS
  • Hiring rose to 5.578m from 5.486m; hiring rate rose to 3.8% from 3.7%
  • 3.351m Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.387m; quits rate unchanged at 2.3%
  • Layoffs rose to 1.71m, three-month high, from 1.547m

Key Takeaways

The gains reinforce the view that the economy is creating jobs at a pace that can absorb any remaining labor-market slack. The report follows data released last week that showed payrolls increased more than forecast in May, the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent, matching April 2000 as the lowest since 1969, and wages also picked up.

March’s upward revision made it the first time in data back to 2000 that vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed, a gap of 48,000. That difference grew to 352,000 in April and is poised to keep widening, as the number of unemployed dropped further in May, to 6.07 million.

Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.

The rise in openings in April was broad-based, led by professional and business services, the JOLTS report showed. Other gainers included manufacturing, trade and transportation, and leisure and hospitality.

Other Details

  • There was 0.9 unemployed person per job opening, compared with 1.9 people when the last recession began at the end of 2007
  • In the 12 months through April, the economy created a net 2.4 million jobs, representing 66.1 million hires and 63.7 million separations.

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