The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey (JOLTS) from the U.S. Department of Labor could indicate the economy is stagnant, although the Department of Labor offered a slightly more optimistic view.

Conflicting Outlooks

The report from the Labor Department presented the data in a more upbeat manner stating that the results were “little changed from August.” The report even pointed out there was a 25% increase from July 2009. It seemed like the Department of Labor was working hard to highlight the positive findings, only listing job openings in the industries with increases while listing all the other figures as “essentially unchanged over the year.”

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Associated Press sees this as “a sign that hiring is likely to remain weak over the next several months.” The 2.9 million job openings advertised by employers represented a 163,000 decrease from the previous month and a drop for the second month in a row. In order to see improvements in the employment figures the economy needs to add at least 100,000 jobs a month.

IndustryAugust 2010September 2010Change
Trade, transportation and utilities449457+8
Retail trade263259-4
Professional and Business Services590537-53
Education and health services487496+9
Leisure and hospitality381323-58
Arts, entertainment and recreation4138-3
Accommodation and food services340284-56
State and local government257238- 19
Total private2,7522,594-158

Employers are still demonstrating hesitation when it comes to hiring, according to the figures released by the report. Seven of the eleven job industries saw decreases in openings from August to September. Leisure and hospitality had the biggest drop in job openings with -58, accommodation and food came at a close second with -56 in the past two months. Unfortunately September was unable to generate enough jobs to crack the 4.4 million jobs that were available in 2007 right before the recession began.

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