Job openings in the United States hit record high in March with essentially one job opening for each unemployed person in the country.
Best Time To Find A Job
Employers posted 6.6 million open jobs in March, the highest since December 2000. The figures were revealed by the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, which was released by the Labor Department on Tuesday.
The number of unemployed Americans that month was just 6.59 million, creating the smallest gap between available work and the number of job seekers in nearly two decades.
It is historically unusual that the number of open jobs match the number of unemployed individuals. People who are out of work typically outnumber the employment opportunities.
More Workers Quitting Their Job
The JOLTS report also showed that more workers voluntarily resigned from their jobs. The number of those who quit rose to 3.34 million, up by 136,000 from February. This indicates confidence in the labor market that can make the employers more willing to push up pay, which can help boost wage growth this year.
"Quits are also a source of upward pressure on wages," said Wells Fargo Securities economist Sarah House. "The majority of workers who voluntarily change jobs receive a pay bump, generating stronger wage growth for job switchers."
Where Are The Jobs?
The professional and business services industry saw the highest increase in job openings in March with 112,000 added positions. Construction had 68,000 job openings, while transportation, utilities, and warehousing all posted an additional 37,000 jobs.
Despite the record-high job openings, not all unemployed Americans get hired. One reason is they do not have the right skills and qualifications that employers look for.
Job seekers may not also want the available jobs. Nearly 800,000 of the job openings in March, for instance, were in industries that pay an hourly wage of less than $15 per hour.
Nonetheless, this is still a better time for unemployed Americans to find a job. In July 2009, after the Great Recession, there were an average of 6.7 job seekers for each available job. The number fell to 1 this March, providing a good opportunity for employment.
"If you're employed and looking for a new opportunity, it's a great time to look," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director of staffing agency Robert Half . "If you're unemployed, and you have skills that are current, this data bodes very well for your job search."