Job Openings at Seven-Year High
Recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a continued positive outlook for employment trends this month. Job openings currently stand at a seven-year high with 4.5 million openings reported in April, up from 4.2 million for the previous month. The number of job openings have increased over the past 12 months in each region of the United States, with the exception of the South.
The BLS reports that total nonfarm employment added 217,000 jobs in May, with average monthly job gains remaining at 197,000 over the past 12 months. Growth has been prominent for several industries including: health care and social assistance, professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and transportation and warehousing.
Jobs in the temporary services sector have also continued to rise, adding 14,000 jobs in May and a total of 224,000 jobs over the last year. The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) report a temp penetration rate of 2.06% for the month and an 8.5% increase in temporary employment compared to May of last year.
Richard Wahlquist, President and CEO of the American Staffing Association (ASA), notes that “the demand for temporary and contract workers continues to increase across most sectors.” This is good news for those searching for temporary or flexible work or jobs that could lead to full-time time positions in the future.
While the unemployment rate sits untouched from last month at 6.3%, employment trends indicate that the jobs outlook is still on the rise. According to the BLS, the number of people who lost their jobs and those who completed temporary work declined by 218,000 in May. Despite the unchanged unemployment rate, this decline in jobs lost is a positive sign, signifying that those who are currently employed have greater job security than in the recent past.
Another indicator that points to this positive outlook is The Conference Board’s Employment Trends Index (ETI), which shows a 5.4% increase since last year with improvement in each of its eight categories for the first five months of 2014. Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board, reports that the ETI “continues to signal solid job growth” and points to a “need for employers to rapidly expand their payroll in light of strengthening economic activity”.
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