Job openings in the U.S. climbed in October to the highest level in more than five years. Employers are now looking beyond the budget impasse in Washington amid growing confidence in the economic expansion.
Compared with same period in the prior year, October’s job openings rose 7.7%, as private openings increased 7.8% to 3.55 million, and government openings rose to 373,000 from 350,000.
The job market remains competitive, even though the competition is easing. In October there were 2.9 unemployed people, on average, for each available job. That’s down from a ratio of nearly 7 to 1 in July 2009, just after the recession ended. In a healthy economy, the ratio is typically 2 to 1.
Other recent reports show that businesses are adding jobs at a solid, steady pace. Employers added 203,000 positions in November. The unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 7 %. Job gains have now averaged about 200,000 for the past four months.
Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. stated that “Businesses are looking to fill openings, they recognize the economy is improving and to meet demand they’re going to have to hire more aggressively”.
Quits are on the Rise
In the meantime, Some 2,39million people quit their jobs in October, the most since October 2008 and up from 2,33 million the prior month. The quits rate, which shows the willingness of workers to leave their jobs, was little changed from the prior month at 1.7 % in October, and was down from a 2.1 % reading when the recession started six years ago.
Employees’ willingness leave their job shows that they feel more confident in finding other employment and that conditions in the US labour market are more flexible.
Another positive sign in the report: Layoffs plunged 16 % to 1.47 million, the lowest level on records dating to 2001. Still, while fewer layoffs are welcome, businesses need to step up hiring to more quickly reduce the still-high unemployment rate of 7 %.
The figures are an encouraging sign that the American economy is leaving behind the adverse effects of the economic crisis. The labour market has more confidence and flexibility enabling companies not only to post more jobs but also take greater steps to fill them.