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FiveThirtyEight: More employers putting out help wanted signs

Job openings up 19% since May 2013

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More employers are putting out the help wanted sign than before, and that’s the good news. The question is – are these good, full-time jobs or part-time McJobs? Time will tell, but meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight takes a look at the employment situation from the employer’s perspective.

U.S. employers posted 4.6 million job openings in May, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up 19 percent from a year ago and marks a new high for the recovery. As the blue line on the chart above shows, openings have accelerated in the past four months and are pretty much back to their prerecession peak.

The red line on the chart tells a more equivocal story. Unlike job openings, actual hiring is well short of prerecession levels, and it isn’t showing much sign of acceleration. But despite a slight down tick in May, the trend in hiring remains strongly positive. (A quick technical note: It may seem odd that there are more hires each month than job openings. This is because the BLS measures openings on a single day — the number of jobs posted on the last day of the month — but measures hiring over the entire month. So a job that’s posted on the first of the month and filled on the 15th will show up as a hire, but it won’t get counted in the tally of openings.)

Source: FiveThirtyEight
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