June 6, 2017 10:30 AM, EDT

Job Openings Hit Record High in April, Topping 6 Million

Matthew Busch/Bloomberg News

An increase in U.S. job openings in April to a record high indicates demand for workers remains strong in the world’s largest economy while the supply is tightening, a Labor Department report showed June 6.

RELATED: Trucking industry payrolls dip by 100 in May

Highlights of Job Openings

• Number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 259,000 to 6.044 million (estimate 5.75 million), from revised 5.785 million in March, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.

• Hiring fell to 5.05 million from 5.3 million; hiring rate eased to 3.5% from 3.6%.

• 3.03 million Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.14 million; quits rate fell to 2.1% from 2.2%.

RELATED: Jobless claims remain low even with biggest rise in a month

Key Takeaways

The increase in help-wanted signs, coupled with a decline in hiring, may indicate that companies are increasingly dealing with a shortage of qualified workers as the job market tightens.

The figures are in sync with the overall picture of a labor market that continues to be resilient, helping boost consumer spending and contributing to the economy’s rebound this quarter.

Figures released the week ended June 3, showed the unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3% in May even as hiring cooled.

Other Details

• Layoffs fell to 1.59 million from 1.66 million.

• There were 1.2 unemployed people vying for every opening in April, compared with 1.9 people when the recession began at the end of 2007.

• Accommodation and food services, construction and financial activities were among industries posting increased openings; vacancies declined in manufacturing and retail.

• In the 12 months through April, the economy created a net 2.2 million jobs, representing 62.9 million hires and 60.7 million separations.

• Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.