Private-Sector Job Openings and Quits Hit New Highs in March

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the total number of job openings in the economy increased to 11.549 million in March, up from 11.344 million in February. The number of open positions in the private sector increased to 10.504 million in March, up from 10.256 million in February (see first chart). Both are at new series highs.

The total job openings rate, openings divided by the sum of jobs plus openings, rose to 7.1 percent in March from 7.0 percent in February while the private-sector job-openings rate rose to 7.5 percent from 7.4 percent in the previous month (see first chart). The March result for the private sector matches the series high.

Three industry categories have more than 2.0 million openings each: education and health care (2.256 million), professional and business services (2.141 million), and trade, transportation, and utilities (2.036 million). Leisure and hospitality (1.675 million) is above 1 million.

The highest openings rates were in leisure and hospitality (9.7 percent), professional and business services (8.8 percent), education and health care (8.5 percent), transportation, and utilities, trade (6.6 percent), and manufacturing (6.4 percent) and all are above the pre-lockdown-recession private-sector peak of 5.1 percent (see second chart). Among the private-sector industry groups, only construction (4.9 percent) is below 5.1 percent.

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