Employers Hiring Again? Job Openings At Nearly 4-Year High

highest job openings Labor DepartmentBy Martin Crutsinger


WASHINGTON -- U.S. companies in March posted the highest number of job openings in nearly four years, a sign that hiring could strengthen in the coming months after slowing this spring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised 3.74 million job openings in March. That's up from a revised 3.57 million in February. The March figure was the highest since July 2008, just before the financial crisis erupted that fall. The increase in job openings suggests that weaker hiring gains in March and April could be temporary. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill openings.

Even with the increase, roughly 12.7 million people were unemployed in March. That means an average of 3.4 people competed for each open job. While that's far better than the nearly 7-to-1 ratio when the recession ended. In a healthy job market, the ratio is usually around 2 to 1.

Last week the government said employers added just 115,000 jobs in April and 154,000 in March. That was a sharp decline from December through February, when the economy added an average of 252,000 jobs per month.

Some of the slowdown in job growth in March and April may reflect a payback for unusually warm winter. The warmer weather probably exaggerated job growth in the winter months and is now making the spring gains look smaller.

Tuesday's report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTs, showed that more people quit their jobs in March. More quits are a good sign because most people quit in order to move to a new job. Rising quits suggest workers are finding more opportunities in the job market.

Nearly 4.36 million people were hired in March, slightly fewer than in February. The JOLTs report measures gross job gains, while the monthly jobs reports are net figures that are calculated after subtracting layoffs and quits.

The unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point since August to 8.1 percent last month -- the lowest level since January 2009.

Still, 8.1 percent unemployment is painfully high. And part of the reason for the decline is more people gave up looking for work. People who are out of work but not looking for jobs aren't counted among the unemployment.

The employment report on Friday showed that the average worker's hourly pay rose by just one penny in April. Over the past year, average hourly pay has ticked up 1.8 percent to $23.28. Inflation has been roughly 2.7 percent. Which means the average consumer isn't keeping up with price increases.



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susan

This is typical BS, they cannot count the ones who have given up looking, self employed and business owners. the last count was 24,000,000 out if work, Its like BO saying that Government has a surplus, of course it does, everyone paid their taxes, didn't see anyone offering us more deductions.

May 09 2012 at 6:21 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Marianne

It was the highest since July 2008... and WHO was President at that time? Obama likes to keep up the mantra of saying he is fixing the Bush problems, so it's good news when he is only as BAD as Bush was?

May 09 2012 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cajafuerta

what are they calling it these days , I forget? "misspoke"?, "untruth", oh yea, i remember a ly.

May 09 2012 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
tiffanypiano1

This is just Obama propaganda. Thousands of people have stopped looking and their employment checks have run out. Consequently, they are not counted in the unemployed anymore. That is the real fact of the matter.

May 09 2012 at 12:27 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
maletred

After the economic meltdown in 2008, and what is currently happening in the European Union and around the world, ANY increase in our country's growth (it is growing), job creation (jobs are being created), budget deficit reduction (the deficit is being reduced), lower unemployment (rates are down) - are ALL GOOD THINGS. The opposite would be NO growth, NO new job, a growing deficit, and growing unemployment. Why do some people have to take a positive situation and turn it into a negative? We are in a recovery. It took us 8 years to create the recession, but 3 years later we are in a recovery. Slow but steady, we are climbing out of the mess we encountered in 2008. Only a fool would think that is a bad thing.

May 09 2012 at 12:20 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to maletred's comment
cajafuerta

hahahahahahahah...sure ....whatever!

May 09 2012 at 12:34 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
susan

Might want to remove the rose colored glasses... the mediaism is just trying to promote their favorite President want to be...

May 09 2012 at 6:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
camarillofats

Repuglicans are meeting in emergency sessions, trying to find ways to credit GW for this good news.

May 08 2012 at 10:23 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
psridgell

86 to 88 million working age Americans aren't working, not just the ones still looking. so is that good news ??

May 08 2012 at 9:27 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to psridgell's comment
susan

393,000,000 total USA citizens.. thse ## dont look to well do they.. Thank BO.. he is taking credit for everything...

May 09 2012 at 6:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ernie

Probably not even $8 an hour jobs.....why don't they tell us what the median pay is for all these jobs......seems data changes each week, and even if a report is lousy, we're told the next day that really it's good news. Isn't the "New World Order" just wonderful !!

May 08 2012 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ernie's comment
susan

Poverty lever entry jobs, and they make it seem like its all good, for who???

May 09 2012 at 6:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
boxigg

GREAT --MORE $8 AN HOUR JOBS THAT SHOULD SAVE US----STOP PAYING FOR YOUR HOUSE--AND FORCE THE BANKS TO WORK WITH YOU

May 08 2012 at 9:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bobbritting1234

Are you kidding? Huffington is in the tank for the current administration. The unemployment rate is nearly 12%. Face facts. What's been put into place just isn't working. Any person with common sense would simply own up to it and make real change. This country is on the verge of thinking 7.9% unemployment should keep this administration in office. Amazing.

May 08 2012 at 8:49 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bobbritting1234's comment
susan

bob.. the job market got rid of the Secret Service guys, that dropped the numbers...rofl joking

May 09 2012 at 6:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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