Economic Snapshot: Job openings at highest level in report’s history

The number of job openings increased in April from 5.0 million to 5.4 million, leading to a record-high report in the history of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

However, unemployment remained fairly steady this month. Both the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate have shown little movement since February, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

JOLTS

The number of job openings rose to 5.4 million on the last business day of April. This is the highest number of opening since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began reporting JOLTS in December 2000.

The job openings rate in April was 3.7 percent. The number of job openings increased for total private and was essentially unchanged for government. The number of job openings increased over the 12 months ending in April for total nonfarm, private and government and increased over the year in all four regions.

The number of hires was 5.0 million in April, little changed from March, and the hires rate was 3.5 percent. Over the 12 months ending in April, the number of hires was little changed for total nonfarm and total private, and increased for government. The number of hires was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

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Total separations were at 4.9 million in April, little changed from March, and the separations rate was 3.5 percent. Within separations, there were 2.7 million quits in April. This was little changed from March but the number of quits increased over the 12 month ending in April for total nonfarm, private and government. 

Employment situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 280,000 in May and the number of unemployed persons and unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.7 million and 5.5 percent, respectively.

The number of persons who were unemployed for less than five weeks decreased by 311,000 to 2.4 million in May, following an increase in April. The number of long-term unemployed, or those who were jobless for 27 weeks or more, remained steady at 2.5 million in May and accounted for 28.6 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed persons is down by 849,000.

The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons was roughly unchanged at 6.7 million in May, continuing to show little movement in recent months.

In May, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 268,000 from the previous year. Among the marginally attached, there were 563,000 discouraged workers, down by 134,000 from May 2014.

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