July Job Openings Highest In Three Years

by: Mark J. Perry
The BLS reported yesterday that there were 3,228,000 job openings in July, an increase of 1.9% from June, and 13.3% from July last year, to reach the highest level since August 2008, almost three years (see chart above). Private sector job openings, at 2,900,000 in July, were also the highest since August 2008, and 15.3% higher than a year earlier.

From the Associated Press:

Companies advertised the most job openings in three years, a hopeful sign after the worst month for hiring in nearly a year. The Labor Department said Wednesday that employers posted 3.2 million jobs in July, up from 3.17 million in June. That is the largest number of openings since August 2008. Typically, it takes anywhere from one to three months to fill an opening. The biggest gains in openings were reported in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities.

There's heavy competition for each job. Nearly 14 million people were out of work in July. So roughly 4.3 unemployed workers were competing for each opening. That's a slight improvement from June, when the ratio was 4.45. In a healthy economy, the ratio is closed to 2 to 1.

Total openings are about 1.1 million higher than they were in July 2009, one month after the recession officially ended. But they are still far below the 4.4 million openings that existed in December 2007, when the recession began.