Now is a great time to be looking for work in America.
The latest job openings and labor turnover survey — known as the JOLTS report — released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday showed that in April there were 6.04 million jobs open in the U.S. In the same month last year there were 5.64 million jobs open.
This is the most ever for the series dating back to its inception in 2001. The jump in job openings also came as hiring and firing declined slight in April, indicating that the labor market continues to tighten as the available pool of workers has been taken up during the post-crisis economic expansion.
Last Friday, we learned that in May 138,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy while the unemployment rate fell to 4.3%. This report also showed that the number of unemployed workers who are new entrants to the workforce continues to fall, indicating that people like college grads who go from being out of the workforce altogether are quickly getting jobs.
Friday’s report also showed that those moving from employed to not in the labor force altogether hit its second-highest monthly total since the financial crisis, showing that the trend of Baby Boomers retiring continues to drive down the total size of the labor force. As the labor force decreases in size, the labor force participation rate also falls, bringing down the unemployment rate as U.S. companies continue to add workers.
Recent economic surveys, notably the Institute for Supply Managements manufacturing and non-manufacturing business surveys for May, have shown that labor continues to be a persistent concern for American businesses as good workers are in short supply. The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book report also indicated that across the country business contacts were having a hard time staffing up due to a lack of qualified workers.
Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, noted on Tuesday that the latest JOLTS number brought down two often overlooked measures of labor market tightness, or signs that the balance of power in the labor market is shifting from employers to employees.
As of April, the number of unemployed workers per job opening in the U.S. was at a record low of 1.2. This compares to there being more than six unemployed workers per job opening in the wake of the financial crisis.
Additionally, almost twice as many people are quitting jobs as getting laid off, a sign that workers are confident they’ll find another job.
In April the quits rate fell slightly to 2.1%, with the 3.03 million folks who quit jobs during the month coming in only slightly lower than 16-year high for total quits we saw back in January.
Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland
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