U.S. job openings jump to record in March

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The construction industry had 68,000 more job openings and companies in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector had 37,000 unfilled positions.

The number of job openings increased to 6.6 million on the last business day of March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.

The number of people quitting rose 4.2 percent to 3.3 million in March, slightly ahead of December's total and the highest since January 2001. Job growth slowed in March and April after an outsized gain in February.

Typically, as unemployment falls, employers advertise fewer job openings because it tends to cost them more to recruit and pay new employees.

With rising vacancies nearly helping to close the gap with the ranks of the unemployed, the job market is increasingly tight.

Wisconsin man celebrates eating his 30000th Big Mac
And on those days, it was because he had to do double shifts at his former job at Waupon Prison and couldn't get out the door. After consuming No. 30,000, he took one for the road. "People make fun of me, but it never bothered me", Gorske said .

That's not the same as saying, of course, that every unemployed worker out there will qualify for one of these vacancies. Yet overall hiring slipped, while quits increased. It suggests that workers feel sufficiently confident in job-market opportunities out there that they're willing to leave their work.

Layoffs fell 56,000 to 1.56 million in March.

That should force employers to push up pay, and many economists expect wage gains will accelerate in the coming months. Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 472,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.6 million. More Americans than in the past are staying in their jobs rather than switching to new ones for higher pay.

Yet Tuesday's report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, suggests that could be changing. "Nonworking" is everyone who doesn't have a job, whether they want one or not.

That is a sign that job-switching might be recovering.