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Labor Department: Employers Advertising More Jobs

Another piece of data to fit into a confusing employment jigsaw puzzle: this time, it's advertising for new jobs – U.S. companies in March posted the highest number of those in four years.

The Labor Department says some 3.74 million job openings were advertised for the month, the most since July 2008, about six months after the recession officially began but still just ahead of the financial meltdown.

What does it mean?

If you're an optimist, it means employers are feeling a bit more "robust" about the economy and want to add workers.

If you're a pessimist, you'd point out that roughly 12.7 million people are still out of work and that the unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 8 percent. Some 3.4 people are in competition for each job.

Just last week, we learned that employers added a disappointing 115,000 jobs in April and 154,000 in March – a far cry from the 252,000 added from December through February.

Today's report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTs, showed that more people quit their jobs in March. But that's not necessarily bad news.

According to The Associated Press:

More quits are a good sign because most people quit in order to move to a new job. Rising quits suggest workers are finding more opportunities in the job market.

Nearly 4.36 million people were hired in March, slightly fewer than in February. The JOLTs report measures gross job gains, while the monthly jobs reports are net figures that are calculated after subtracting layoffs and quits.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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