US job openings hit record high as service and accommodation industries lead vacancies – NBC Los Angeles
US employers posted a record number of available jobs in March, clearly illustrating the desperation of companies trying to find new workers as the country emerges from the pandemic and the economy grows.
Still, total job gains have increased only modestly, according to a Labor Department report released on Tuesday. The figures follow an April jobs report last week that was much lower than expected, in large part because companies appear unable to find the workers they need, even with high unemployment. at 6.1%.
Job vacancies rose nearly 8% to 8.1 million in March, the highest number since December 2000, the government said. Still, overall hires that month rose less than 4% to 6 million. The number of hires is a gross figure, while the government’s employment report – which says 770,000 jobs were added in March – uses a net total. Tuesday’s report is known as the Job Openings and Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.
A separate survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 44% had jobs they couldn’t do, a record too.
The NFIB and JOLTS “add to evidence from the April jobs report that labor shortages are widespread, pushing up prices and potentially acting as a drag on the recovery,” said Michael Pearce, economist at Capital Economics.
Job opportunities have increased in accommodation and food services, with restaurants, bars and hotels leading the wave. There were 155,000 additional job vacancies in public and local education. Job vacancies also increased in manufacturing, commerce, transportation and utilities, and finance. But vacancies have declined in the health care and social assistance sector.
The huge number of openings is likely to fuel a political dispute over whether the additional $ 300 in weekly federal unemployment assistance, in addition to a state payment of around $ 320 on average, is discouraging job seekers. unemployed people looking for a new job. Many Republicans in Congress have argued it does, and several states have threatened to cut payments by $ 300, with Georgia being the latest state to consider such a move.
President Joe Biden, who included the extra money in his $ 1.9 trillion bailout approved in March, disputed that the extra $ 300 payment was to blame on Monday. But he also urged the Department of Labor to work with states on renewing requirements that aid recipients must seek employment and take a position if offered. The job search rule was put on hold during the pandemic, when many businesses were closed.
“Anyone who receives unemployment, who is offered a suitable job has to accept the job or lose their unemployment benefits,” Biden said.
Many unemployed people are also reluctant to take jobs in service industries that require contact with the public for fear of contracting COVID-19. And many women aren’t looking for work because they haven’t found daycare for children who are still at home and taking online classes for at least part of the week.