US Job Openings Hit Post-Recession High In February

 @JosephLazzaro
on April 09 2013 3:36 PM
Factory 2012
A Ford Assembly Plant. Reuters

With the creation of just 88,000 jobs, March’s U.S. jobs report was a decided disappointment, but a separate U.S. government survey points to an incrementally healing U.S. job market.

Employers posted a seasonally adjusted 3.93 million job openings in February – the most since the recession ended in June 2009 - the U.S. Labor Department announced Tuesday, in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

However, hiring came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.4 million in February, up 2.8 percent from January, but lower than a year ago, when it reached 4.49 million.

In addition, there are now three people seeking every job opening, down from a peak of nearly seven in 2009. In a healthy economy, the ratio of job-seekers to job openings is about 2-to-1. During the “Roaring '90s” – a period of strong U.S. GDP growth and job growth - the ratio dropped to about 1-to-1.

As noted, in the U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report, formally the Non-Farm Payroll Report, the U.S. job market suffered a setback, with only 88,000 jobs created. Economists had expected roughly 190,000 jobs to be created, and that shortfall has raised concerns that the sluggish U.S. economy’s momentum may be waning. However, economists caution  that one month is not long enough to prove that a trend is in place, with subsequent reports in April, May and June likely to provide illuminating data on the job market’s health at this stage of the economic expansion.

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