For the first time in at least two decades there are more job openings in the US than the number of people unemployed.
The Labor Department reported on Tuesday that there were 6.7 million job openings at the end of April – the highest number of vacancies since the agency started tracking this information in 2000.
The unemployment rate in the US has dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent and employers have added jobs for 92 consecutive months.
The JOLTS report showed that the rise in openings in April was led by professional and business services.
According to the report, over the 12 months ending in April, hires totaled 66.1 million and separations totaled 63.7 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.4 million.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying:
“Never before have we had an economy where the number of open jobs exceeds the number of job seekers.
“This administration is committed to ensuring that all Americans have the necessary skills to access good, family-sustaining jobs.”
After the Great Recession in 2009 there were more than six unemployed workers for every job opening. This ratio has narrowed significantly. In April, there were 0.95 jobless people per opening.
Wage growth remains weak
Despite a robust number of jobs being added to the economy, wage growth is still lower than what analysts had expected.
Average hourly pay in May rose by an average of 2.8 percent for all workers, excluding managers, from the previous year. In April 2000, the last time the unemployment rate was also at 3.8 percent, hourly pay rose 4 percent compared to the year before.