A help sign appears in the window of a business in Brooklyn, New York.
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Job vacancies hit a record high in March when employers struggled to find workers to fill those positions, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.
Even as February Aid Wanted rose 597,000, or 8%, to 8.12 million, hires only rose 215,000, or 3.7%, to just over 6 million.
The total number of breakups decreased by 107,000 to 5.32 million.
The total number of job opportunities sets a new standard for the Job Opportunities and Turnover Survey, which dates back to December 2000.
The report is based on growing concerns that employers may find enough workers to fill vacancies, which in turn could make the economic recovery slower than expected.
The JOLTS report, when combined with other recent indicators, shows that “labor shortages are widespread, driving prices up and potentially holding back recovery,” wrote Michael Pearce, senior US economist at Capital Economics.
In a recent release, Goldman Sachs economists found that “the labor supply appears to be lower than the unemployment rate suggests, likely due to the effects of unusually generous unemployment benefits and persistent virus-related disabilities.”
This job vacancy explosion came in a month when the number of non-farm workers rose by 770,000. The pace couldn’t keep up, however, as only 266,000 positions were added in April, which was in line with expectations of 1 million. The JOLTS numbers are one month behind the number of non-farm pay slips.
In March the chances in government offices increased sharply. The job vacancy rose to 833,000, an increase of 26.6% from February. Retail also grew significantly, while education and health declined.
The total number of openings as a percentage of the labor force rose from 5% to 5.3%. The arts, entertainment and recreation had the highest percentage open rates, increasing from 7.2% in the previous month to 10.7%.
Terminations or voluntary terminations of jobs have hardly changed at 2.4%. The termination rate is seen as a proxy for employee trust.
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