US job openings rise in June,turnover mostly steady

WASHINGTON Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:30am EDT

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WASHINGTON Aug 10 (Reuters) - The number of available jobs in the United States edged higher in June but remained well short of the amount needed to give much boost to America's weak economic recovery, government data showed on Wednesday.

There were about 3.1 million jobs open at the end of June, a slight boost from May's upwardly revised 3.0 million, according to the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

The job openings rate was steady at 2.3 percent.

The relatively low number of job openings -- unfilled, posted vacancies that non-farm employers plan to fill within 30 days -- is helping keep the U.S. unemployment rate high.

That hurts consumer spending, as well as President Barack Obama's prospects of getting reelected next year.

The number of openings remains well below pre-recession levels. There were 4.4 million openings at the end of December 2007.

The rate of hires edged down slightly to 3.1 percent in June, from 3.2 percent the prior month. The separations rate also slipped to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent in May. Hires and separations are indicators of labor movement during the month.

The U.S. jobless rate was 9.2 percent in June. It edged down to 9.1 percent in July, the latest data shows, largely because people left the workforce.

Wednesday's report showed the rate at which people quit their jobs, which can indicate workers' confidence in their ability to find new jobs, was unchanged in June.

The rate of layoffs also held steady during the month at 1.4 percent.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey encompasses employment data from about 16,000 establishments across the country. (Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci) (jason.lange@thomsonreuters.com; +1 202 310 5487; Reuters Messaging: jason.lange.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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