U.S. employers posted a record number of available jobs in April, far surpassing expectations, and March’s record number of openings was revised higher.
Job openings jumped 12 percent to 9.28 million in April, the most on records going back to December of 2000, according to the Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released Tuesday.
Yet the total number of hires was little changed at 6.1 million, dramatically illustrating the desperation of new businesses struggling to bring on new workers as the economy emerges from the pandemic.
Hires increased in accommodation and food services by 232,000. The federal government hired an additional 10,000.
Hires fell by 107,000 in construction and durable goods manufacturing hires fell by 37,000. Both housing and manufacturing has been beset by shortages and rising costs that may have caused some businesses to pull back from expanding.
The enormous number of openings is further evidence that the labor market faces a supply challenge rather than a shortage in demand for workers. Tuesday’s report indicates that enhanced unemployment benefits—which pay an extra $300 in weekly federal unemployment aid on top of a state payment that averages about $320—are discouraging those out of work from seeking new jobs. Nearly two dozen states have moved to end the enhanced benefits this summer, months earlier than they were scheduled to expire.
In April, the quits level rose to a record high of 4.0 million, a sign that employees are confident that they can readily find new work. The Labor Department said quits increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in retail trade, professional and business services, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities.
March had initially been reported as 8.123 million, which was also a record high. It was revised up to 8.288 million. Economists had forecast a slight decline to around 8 million for April.