Job openings in February were at their highest level since May 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. There were 3.9 million job openings at U.S. companies on the last day of the month, up from 3.6 million in January. The hiring and separation rates were little changed, at 3.3 percent and 3.1 percent respectively.
There were 52 million hires and 50.1 million separations in the 12 months ending in February 2013, for a net employment gain of 1.9 million. Those numbers include workers who may have been separated and hired more than once during the year.
The quits rate -- that is, the rate of people who leave jobs voluntarily -- held steady overall at 1.7 percent, but rose year-over-year in the accommodation and food services sector, and in the South. Because quits are voluntary separations, the rate can serve as a metric for judging employee confidence in job prospects.
The quits rate was the highest since October 2008, MarketWatch reported. However, February saw 3.6 job seekers for each job opening, while in December 2007, there were 1.8 million job seekers for each job opening.
Job openings increased in February in health care and social assistance (617,000 compared to 524,000), accommodation and food services (458,000 compared to 401,000), and state and local governments 370,000 compared to 340,000), according to the BLS report.
Year-over-year gains were made in construction (116,000 openings compared to 74,000 a year ago), professional and business services (722,000 compared to 668,000), accommodation and food services (458,000 compared to 368,000), and state and local government (370,000 compared to 342,000).
The West saw a year-over-year increase in job openings, and the Midwest saw an increase over January.
Most Popular Stories
- Fed Committee Optimistic About Growth Prospects
- Pot's Legal in WA -- But You Should Probably Ask Your Boss
- Drive-In Movie Theaters Use Creativity to Afford Digital Switch
- How ESPN Became a $50B Sports Empire
- Obama Cites Letter Writers in Pitching Economy
- Pau Gasol Turns Down Lakers' Offer
- U.S. Immigration Courts Facing Record Backlog
- President Obama Relishes Roadshow, but Agenda Still Stuck
- Stevie Fielder Changes Tune on Thad Cochran Vote-buying Story
- Farrell, Kitsch Rumored for Season 2 of 'True Detective'