US job openings decline in February from record level

FILE- In this Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, women fill out job applications at a JobNewsUSA job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Friday, April 13, 2018, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for February. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

US job openings decline in February from record level, as economy favors job seekers

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses posted fewer open jobs in February than the previous month when openings reached a record level, though layoffs fell.

The Labor Department said Friday that openings fell 2.8 percent to 6.05 million, down from 6.23 million in January, the most on record dating back to 2001. Layoffs dropped a steep 7.7 percent, to 1.65 million.

The figures suggest a healthy job market tilting in favor of job seekers. There are nearly as many job openings as there are unemployed people. Businesses have complained they can't fill jobs, and many are feeling pressure to raise pay to attract and keep workers.

There are now just 1.08 unemployed people, on average, for every available job. When the Great Recession ended, there were 6.7 people out of work for every opening.

The shortage of available workers is also likely why companies are laying off relatively few people. Job cuts topped 2.5 million a month in early 2009, at the depths of the recession. That's roughly 50 percent higher than February's total.

The figures, from the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, add color to the government's monthly jobs report. In February that report showed that employers added a net total of 326,000 jobs, the most in 18 months.

Yet overall hiring slipped that month, from 5.6 million, to 5.5 million, the JOLTS report shows. That means the big net gain mostly reflected the drop in job cuts.

As the supply of unemployed dwindles, companies are also pulling some workers who had given up on their job hunts off the sidelines. The proportion of Americans in their prime working years — aged 25 to 54 — who are working or looking for work has increased in the past year.

And fewer Americans are citing disability as a reason for not working, according to research by Ernie Tedeschi, an economist at ISI Evercore.

Even so, hiring nationwide may slow as unemployment declines, if companies are unable to fill jobs. Net job gains slowed to 103,000 in March.

Related News

Medicaid estimate renews cost concerns over...

Aug 12, 2016

Government cost estimates for expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people are increasing...

Studies shine light on mysterious placenta, how...

Aug 12, 2016

Placenta is most mysterious organ: Scientists don't know how this tissue that nourishes a fetus...

3 years into nation's hemp experiment, crop's...

Aug 12, 2016

Three years into the nation's hemp experiment, the crop's hazy market potential is starting to come...

Tepid retail sales lower expectations for US...

Aug 12, 2016

Tepid retail spending in July lowers expectations for US economic growth in coming months

US producer prices slid 0.4 percent in July

Aug 12, 2016

US producer prices fell last month by the biggest percentage since September, pulled down by...

Pressuring Trump, Clinton releases 2015 tax...

Aug 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton and her husband earned $10.6 million last year, according to a tax filing released...

Here at The World Agenda, we bring innovation to digital news for you to keep abreast of worldwide news instantly anywhere.

Contact us: sales[at]