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5.6 Million Job Openings Exceed Number of Available Workers | Financial Wars

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job openingsAccording to a jobs report released by the Labor Department, there are now 5.6 million job openings that exceed the number of available workers in the United States.

This is the largest gap since 2000 and underscores the severity of the labor shortage currently facing businesses across the country.

In addition, a record number of people quit their jobs in March, indicating that workers are increasingly confident in the labor market and have more opportunities available to them.

These trends are likely to continue in the coming months, as the economy continues to strengthen and businesses struggle to find qualified workers.

Overall, the U.S. economy has added back about half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April 2020 as businesses were forced to close their doors or scale back operations amid lockdowns aimed at curbing the pandemic.

The jobless rate fell to a pandemic low of 6% in March from a peak of 14.0% in April 2020 but is still well above its pre-pandemic level of about three and a half percent.

The Labor Department’s report on job openings and quits covers March, the most recent month for which data is available. The department will release its closely watched employment report for April on Friday.

Economists expect that report to show the economy added a robust 978,000 jobs last month as businesses continued to reopen and more Americans got vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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The jobless rate is forecast to have dipped slightly to 6.1% from 6.2% in March.
If those forecasts prove accurate, they would mark another month of solid gains in employment following a strong showing in March.

Employers added nearly one million jobs that month, the most since August, and the unemployment rate fell sharply to six percent from six and a half percent.

The acceleration in job growth has been driven by a reopening of the economy and an increase in consumer spending as more Americans get vaccinated. The vaccines have also allowed schools to reopen, which has helped spur job growth among teachers and other school workers.

The labor market has shown other signs of strength in recent weeks. New applications for unemployment benefits have declined to a pandemic low, and employers have been reporting difficulty finding workers to fill open jobs.

The economy is still about eight million jobs shy of its pre-pandemic level, but the pace of job growth has picked up in recent months as businesses have reopened and more consumers have spent freely.

The solid employment gains are expected to continue in the coming months as the vaccination effort accelerates and restrictions on businesses ease further.

That should help boost economic growth and allow the Federal Reserve to begin scaling back its support for the economy later this year.

The Fed has said it plans to keep interest rates at historically low levels until employment returns to its pre-pandemic level and inflation rises sustainably to two percent.

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“The labor market is firmly on a path of healing that will only gain further momentum in coming months as COVID restrictions are lifted,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst. “This is good news for workers seeking employment as well as those employed who may be concerned about job security.”

The employment report for April will be released on Friday. Economists expect it to show the economy added 978,000 jobs last month. The jobless rate is forecast to have dipped slightly to six point one percent from six point two percent in March.

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