Economic Snapshot: Job openings at series high

While the number of job openings is at a series high for the survey, hires are down this month.

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The number of job openings increased to a series high of 6.0 million on the last business day of April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The job openings rate was 4.0 percent.

The number of job openings edged up for total private (+220,000) and government (+39,000). Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increase occurring in accommodation and food services (+118,000). Job openings decreased in durable goods manufacturing (-30,000). The number of job openings increased in the Midwest and Northeast regions.

The number of hires fell to 5.1 million in April and the hires rate was 3.5 percent. The number of hires decreased for total private (-257,000) and was little changed for government. Hires decreased in health care and social assistance (-68,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (-23,000). The number of hires decreased in the West.

Total separations edged down to 5.0 million in April and the total separations rate was 3.4 percent. Total separations decreased for total private (-239,000) and were little changed for government. Total separations increased in state and local government education (+17,000) but decreased in retail trade (-100,000).

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Among separations, the number of quits edged down to 3.0 million in April and the quits rate was 2.1 percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and decreased for government (-21,000). Quits decreased in retail trade (-72,000); state and local government, excluding education (-20,000); and information (-12,000).

Employment situation

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 138,000 in May and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job gains occurred in healthcare and mining.

The number of unemployed persons was little changed at 6.9 million. Since January, the unemployment rated has declined by 0.5 percentage points and the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 774,000.

The labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.7 percent in May but has shown no clear trend over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio edged down to 60.0 percent in May.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was little changed at 5.2 million.

In May, 1.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 238,000 from the previous year. Among the marginally attached, there were 355,000 discouraged workers in May, down by 183,000 from a year earlier.

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