Total Job Openings Up; Still Room for Improvement

by: Mark J. Perry

The BLS reported today that private job openings in the U.S. increased to 2,759,000 in February, the highest level since August 2008, almost two and-a-half years ago (see red line below).

Total job openings increased to 3,093,000 in February, which is the highest level since September 2008 (see blue line) and "provides evidence that hiring is picking up as the economy grows," according to the Associated Press:

A rise in employment advertisements is the latest sign that companies are stepping up hiring. The private sector in March added more than 200,000 jobs for a second straight month, the first time that's happened since 2006. And the unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent, the lowest level in two years.

Job openings are usually filled within one to three months after posting, which means the report can be an indicator of future hiring activity. If that holds true, April could be another strong month for job growth. The number of jobs advertised has increased by nearly 1 million since they bottomed out in July 2009, a month after the recession ended. But they are still well below the 4.4 million openings that were advertised in December 2007, when the recession began.

[Click to enlarge]