Job Openings Hit a Record in March, as Employers Scramble for Workers

Ken Coniglio |
The number of available jobs hit a record 8.1 million at the end of March, in another sign that the number of openings continues to outpace hiring. The highest rate of openings was in the South, with the fastest growth in the Northeast, the Labor Department said.
  • Government and private data show rising openings in construction, manufacturing, and hospitality despite 9.8 million people being unemployed in April, according to the Labor Department. April’s unemployment rate was 6.1%.
  • Job postings on were up 24% at the end of April compared with February 2020, before the pandemic. The rising number of unfilled jobs “shows how difficult it is to turn openings into hires,” Indeed economist Nick Bunker said.
  • Some blame generous unemployment benefits and workers struggling with child care issues with schools still closed, but it’s also the data, MarketWatch reports. The pandemic upended the government’s usual process for collecting information on the economy and adjusting its findings.
  • Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Montana have all announced they will end weekly $300 federal unemployment benefits in June, saying they discourage workers from taking available jobs.
What’s Next: The National Federation of Independent Business said 44% of small-business owners surveyed in April had jobs they couldn’t fill, an all-time high. “Owners are raising compensation, offering bonuses and benefits to attract the right employees,” NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said.
Janet H. Cho