Job openings hit 14-year high in May

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY 10:36 a.m. EDT July 7, 2015

Employers advertised 5.4 million openings in May, up about 20,000 from April and the most since labor began tracking the figure in 2000, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Opening rose in nearly all categories, but dipped in health care.

The number of hires fell slightly to 5 million but remained near recent highs. Hiring increased in retail and leisure and hospitality, but fell in construction, manufacturing and professional and business services.

Labor reported last week that employers added a net 254,000 jobs in May, a healthy figure but less than the 280,000 it initially estimated. The labor market has rebounded in recent months after a harsh winter.

Tuesday’s JOLTS report provides a more granular view of employee movements.

About 2.7 million Americans quit jobs in May, down slightly from April but still near pre-recession levels. A large number of quits underscores that employees feel confident in leaving one job for another.

In May, there were about 1.5 unemployed workers for each job opening, down from 1.6 in April and a high of 6.7 in 2009. That has helped provide leverage to job candidates and should herald stronger wage growth in coming months.