The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

January 17, 2014

US employers advertise most jobs since March 2008

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers advertised more jobs in November and more Americans quit, positive signs for millions who are unemployed and looking for work.

The Labor Department said Friday that job openings rose 1.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted 4 million, the most in 5 ½ years. And the number of people quitting increased 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 2.4 million, a five-year high.

Job openings haven’t topped 4 million since March 2008, just a few months after the Great Recession began. Openings at that level are generally consistent with a healthy job market.

And more workers quitting can also be a positive signal, because people usually quit when they either have a new job — typically for more pay — or are confident they can find one.

The data suggest the competition for jobs is getting a little bit easier. There were 2.7 unemployed workers for each available job in November, down from 6.7 just after the recession ended in July 2009. In a healthy economy the ratio is roughly 2 to 1.

More job openings and quits suggest greater opportunities for the unemployed. But those positive trends haven’t recently translated into additional hiring. Overall hiring ticked up just 0.2 percent in November to nearly 4.5 million.

The figures also follow a disappointing report on December job growth. The government last week said employers added just 74,000 jobs in December. That’s the fewest in three years and below an average gain of 214,000 in the previous three months.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent, the lowest in more than five years. But the rate dropped mostly because more Americans gave up looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively hunting for jobs.

Last week’s employment report shows net payroll gains — the number of people hired minus those who were laid off, quit or retired. Friday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, provides more details.

For example, it shows the overall number of people hired each month, rather than just the net gain. Total hires reached 4.6 million in September, a five-year high, but hiring has dipped since then.

In the past year, the number of job openings has increased 5.6 percent. But total hiring is only 1.7 percent higher.

Economists point to several reasons for the gap. Employers may not be offering sufficient pay and benefits to persuade more workers to take the jobs. They may also be pickier, believing they can find top-notch candidates with the unemployment rate still elevated.

Many employers say they can’t find enough qualified workers, particularly in high-skilled industries such as manufacturing and information technology.

Both Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen, who will succeed Bernanke as chairman next month, have cited greater overall hiring and quits as key signs of the job market’s improvement.

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • Holder bringing personal perspective to Ferguson

     Eric Holder talks about the nation's civil rights struggles in a way no previous U.S. attorney general could — by telling his own family story.

    August 20, 2014

  • Senate control could rest with well-funded women

    Control of the Senate could lie in the fortunes of female candidates and the deep-pocketed donors, like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who are sending piles of cash their way.

    August 20, 2014

  • Iraq forces retake Mosul Dam; militants deny claim

    Boosted by two days of U.S. airstrikes, Iraqi and Kurdish forces on Monday wrested back control of the country's largest dam from Islamic militants, a military spokesman in Baghdad said as fighting was reported to be underway for the rest of the strategic complex.

    August 18, 2014

  • US stocks open higher; Family Dollar jumps

     U.S. stocks are opening higher, following gains in Europe.

    August 18, 2014

  • Federal autopsy ordered in Missouri teen's death

    Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy on a black Missouri teenager whose fatal shooting by a white police officer has spurred a week of rancorous and sometimes-violent protests in suburban St. Louis.

    August 17, 2014

  • news_missingamish.jpg Official: Amish girls sexually abused in abduction

    Two young Amish sisters were sexually abused after their abduction from a roadside farm stand in northern New York, a prosecutor said Saturday.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ukraine [Duplicate] Ukraine says troops entered rebel-held city

    Ukraine's government said Sunday that separatists shot down a Ukrainian fighter plane after army troops entered deep inside a rebel-controlled city in the east in what could prove a breakthrough development in the four-month long conflict.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ferguson.jpg Governor declares emergency, sets Ferguson curfew

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew Saturday in a St. Louis suburb where police and protesters have clashed in the week since a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_rickperry.jpg Perry is latest 2016 GOP hopeful facing legal trouble

    As they form exploratory committees and begin hiring staff in key presidential battleground states, three potential Republican White House candidates also face the distraction of legal troubles back at home. The latest is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who following his indictment on two felony charges, is staring at the most serious accusations of wrongdoing by a prominent Republican governor openly considering a run for president.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Missing Amish Girls_Mile.jpg Sheriff: Pair may have plotted to kidnap more kids

    A couple accused of kidnapping two young Amish sisters were prowling for easy targets and may have also planned to abduct other children, a sheriff said Saturday.

    August 17, 2014 1 Photo