Job Openings Decline in September

Job openings, which measure the position advertised through course of a month, decreased 5.3% from August to September, according to new data from the Labor Department.

Employers advertised a total of 2.9 million jobs in September, a drop of 163,000 from August, when 3.1 million job openings were listed.

While the number of job openings in September did decline, it was still 25% higher than the numbers posted in July 2009, when new openings fell to their lowest point since tracking began in 2001, according to the Labor Department.

The job openings rate, a separate measurement which tracks how many jobs were left unfilled at the end of the month, fell to 2.2% in September, a slight decline from the August rate of 2.3%.

Both the rate of new hires and rate of separations – which includes discharges, quits, layoffs and retirements – remained stagnant at 3.2% in September.

However, even with the gains since July 2009, the number of new job openings in September remained below the 4.4 million jobs available in December 2007 before the recession began.

The economy needs to add at least 100,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth, the Labor Department says. However, the economy needs to create at least 300,000 net jobs a month to lower the unemployment rate, which holds steady at 9.6%.

The monthly report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, is being released at the same time as data that gives a more positive outlook on the economic future.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 435,000 last week.

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