Task openings hit List high of 6.6 million

Job openings in US jump to record 6.55mn in March

US job openings surged to a record high in March, suggesting that a recent slowdown in hiring was probably the result of employers having difficulties finding qualified workers.

Job openings surged to a record 6.55 million in March, the Labor Department reported Tuesday, May 8.

Nick Bunker, an analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said the record-high number of job openings in part stems from the weak wage gains. There was 1.0 unemployed worker per job opening in March.

With rising vacancies nearly helping to close the gap with the ranks of the unemployed, the job market is increasingly tight.

The Labor Department, which has been tracking job openings since 2000, said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary that total job openings increased by 7.8 percent, or by 472,000 openings, in March compared to the previous month. It suggests that workers feel sufficiently confident in job-market opportunities out there that they're willing to leave their work. The number of people quitting their jobs has increased 6.4 percent in the past year.




The Employment Cost Index, widely seen by policymakers and economists as one of the better measures of labor market slack, showed wages rising at their fastest pace in 11 years in the first quarter.

Yet a separate measure of average hourly pay increased just 2.6 percent in April from a year earlier, even as the unemployment rate dropped to a 17-year low of 3.9 percent.

Layoffs fell 56,000 to 1.56 million in March. More Americans are staying in their jobs rather than switching to new ones for higher pay.

Another good sign in the same BLS release that these numbers came from: The share of people quitting their jobs continues to trend upward. "Nonworking" is everyone who doesn't have a job, whether they want one or not. Over time, it could push up wages.

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