BLS Reports Record 5.4 Million U.S. Job Openings

By Roy Maurer Jun 11, 2015

Job openings in the United States hit a record-high 5.4 million in April 2015, signaling strong employment growth, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The number of vacancies is the highest since the BLS began releasing the report in December 2000. Job openings in April primarily increased in health care and social assistance services but fell in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors, according to the report.

Over the 12 months ending in April 2015, hires totaled 60 million and separations totaled 57.2 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.8 million.

Hopes were high that the newest job openings report would be positive after the BLS released its May Employment Situation report that suggested that the economy was back on track after a disappointing first quarter, said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM-SCP, manager of workforce trends at the Society for Human Resource Management. “And sure enough, [it] was even better than expected,” she said.

Elsewhere there was little change. The number of hires held fairly steady at 5 million as did total separations, Schramm said. Total separations for April 2015—including quits, layoffs and discharges—fell to 4.9 million from 5 million in March. There were 1.8 million layoffs and discharges in April, the same as the previous month.

Less people quit their jobs in April—2.7 million—than in March, when 2.8 million people gave their notice.

“HR professionals tend to be most interested in the quits rate within overall separations because a rising quits rate may mean they need to brace themselves for increased voluntary turnover rates,” Schramm said. “So far, there wasn’t much of an increase in the quits rate but with these recent upbeat employment and job openings numbers, it is likely that many workers will start to grow more confident that they can land a new position.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMRoy


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