Job openings in the United States touched their highest level in more than 13 years in August, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday. However, the number of people hired in August fell.
According to Tuesday’s report, which is known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, there were 4.8 million job openings in August, up from 4.6 million in July, making it the highest number of job openings since January 2001. On the other hand, total hiring in August fell to 4.6 million in August, from 4.9 million in July, driven mostly by declines in hiring in the construction and retail sectors.
The latest report comes just days after a separate assessment by the labor department showed growth in the U.S. labor market as employers added 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent, its lowest post-recession level.
“This is more evidence that we should expect further robust gains in employment over the next few months and, consequently, further declines in the unemployment rate," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, a UK-based research consultancy firm, told Associated Press.
According to labor department statistics, in the past 12 months, job openings in the U.S. have increased by 23 percent, suggesting that employers expect economic growth to continue. However, in the same period, hiring rose by a mere 1 percent. The disparate trends in job openings and actual hires could either suggest a gap between the wages employers are willing to pay and the skills of potential job seekers, or that there aren't enough skilled workers available to fill the open positions.