Record U.S. job openings with lower hiring show labor shortage

(Bloomberg) -- An increase in U.S. job openings in April to a record high indicates demand for workers remains strong in the world’s largest economy while the supply is tightening, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday.

Highlights of Job Openings (April)
  • Number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 259k to 6.044m (est. 5.75m), from revised 5.785m in March, acc. to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS
  • Hiring fell to 5.05m from 5.3m; hiring rate eased to 3.5% from 3.6%
  • 3.03m Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.14m; quits rate fell to 2.1% from 2.2%
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Key takeaways
The increase in help-wanted signs, coupled with a decline in hiring, may indicate that companies are increasingly dealing with a shortage of qualified workers as the job market tightens. The figures are in sync with the overall picture of a labor market that continues to be resilient, helping boost consumer spending and contributing to the economy’s rebound this quarter. Figures released last week showed the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent in May even as hiring cooled.

Other Details

  • Layoffs fell to 1.59 million from 1.66 million
  • There were 1.2 unemployed people vying for every opening in April, compared with 1.9 people when the recession began at the end of 2007
  • Accommodation and food services, construction, financial activities were among industries posting increased openings; vacancies declined in manufacturing, retail
  • In the 12 months through April, the economy created a net 2.2 million jobs, representing 62.9 million hires and 60.7 million separations
  • 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