Job Openings On the Rise

8 Apr

Good news for job seekers: job openings are on the rise in the U.S. According to the Labor Department, this February the number of openings rose to the highest levels in nearly five years. But in March the number of payroll gains slowed down a bit, which many speculate has to do with the sequester cuts that went into effect on March 1st.


“Employment conditions are improving,” said Russell Price, who is a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. But it is doing so at “a frustratingly slow pace for policy makers.”


But despite the slowed pace, unemployment rates are now at 7.6% across the country, which is a record low since December of 2008. The hiring rate went up to 3.3 percent in February, increasing the overall number of people hired to 4.42 million that month.


The key to continue moving toward economic recovery will be to keep the momentum going. According to Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, central bankers are looking for “sustained improvement across a range of indicators” before their policy of purchasing $85 billion of monthly bonds will change.


The biggest employment gains came in the health care industry, while retail companies job openings actually decreased. About 1.9 million jobs were created by the economy between March 2012 and February 2013. There were about 12 million unemployed Americans as of February, which means that for every job opening there are about 3.1 million people. When the recession began in December 2007, that number was much slimmer at 1.8 million per job opening. But it is slowly getting better.


The main concern now is how sequester cuts will affect the slow growth and small amount of progress that has been made. Many worry that the automatic and arbitrary cuts will be a major setback that could make unemployment spike yet again.


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