Economy Watch: Job Openings Up in April
There were 4.5 million U.S. job openings on the last business day of April, up from 4.2 million in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its Job Openings and Turnover Survey.
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
There were 4.5 million U.S. job openings on the last business day of April, up from 4.2 million in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday in its Job Openings and Turnover Survey (the snappily named JOLTS). The number of job openings rose mostly in the private sector, while it was little changed for government employment. In retail trade and in arts, entertainment and recreation, the number of job openings increased in April.
There were 4.5 million total separations in April, unchanged from March, the BLS also reported. The number of total separations was unchanged for total private and declined in government. By the BLS’ reckoning, separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations are referred to as turnover.
Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee, meaning that the quits rate is an indirect measure of the health of the employment market, since it’s measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. The number of quits increased over the 12 months ending in April for the private sector, but not much for government. The number of quits increased year-over-year in retail trade and in accommodation and food services, while decreasing in finance and insurance.
More employers looking to hire in Q3 than not
The latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released on Tuesday by ManpowerGroup, reflects hiring confidence among U.S. employers for the third quarter of 2014. Employers reported a “Net Employment Outlook” of +14 percent, the strongest outlook since the second quarter of 2008, when it was also +14 percent. Workforce specialist Manpower derives its Net Employment Outlook by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.
Of the more than 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed by Manpower, 22 percent anticipate increasing staff levels in Q3 2014 hiring plans, while anticipated staff reductions remain among the lowest in survey history, at only 4 percent. Seventy-one percent of employers expect no change in their hiring plans, and 3 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring intentions.
Employers in North Dakota, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, Alaska and Idaho indicate the strongest Net Employment Outlooks, while New Mexico, Mississippi, Kansas, Nevada, Illinois and Florida project the weakest outlooks. Among the 100 largest MSAs, the strongest job prospects are expected in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Charleston, S.C.; and Dallas.
Wall Street had another mild day on Tuesday, barely moving when everything was said and done. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.82 points, or 0.02 percent, while the Nasdaq was up 0.04 percent. The S&P 500 edged down by 0.02 percent.