Labor Department Report Shows Job Openings Rose in July after Two Months of Declines

By Thomas Ahearn, ESR News Blog

In a positive sign that companies may increase hiring soon, the U.S. Labor Department reports that the number of jobs advertised rose in July after two months of declines.

The Labor Department’s ‘Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey’ (JOLTS) showed that the number of jobs advertised rose by 6.2 percent to 3.04 million in July, the highest total since April when hiring for temporary census jobs inflated that month’s figure.

Among industries, the JOLTS report revealed that education and health services and leisure and hospitality showed the biggest increases in job openings.

  • Education and health services posted 533,000 jobs in July, up from 487,000 in June.
  • Restaurants and hotels advertised 310,000 openings in July, up from 263,000 in June.

In addition, the JOLTS report illustrates the degree of “job churn” that the U.S. economy experiences each month. In July, while companies and government agencies hired 4.2 million people, 4.4 million people were laid off, quit, or retired during the same month.

The JOLTS report also indicates heavy competition for each job. An average of 4.8 unemployed people competed for each job opening, less than the 6.3 unemployed people in November 2009 but more than the 1.8 unemployed people when the recession began.

Despite the increase in job openings, total job openings remain far below the 4.4 million that existed when the recession began in December 2007, according to the JOLTS report.

With an increase in hiring, employers will need an increase in employment screening for the millions of job applicants competing for a limited amount of jobs. Using a Safe Hiring Program (SHP) will help employers save time and money selecting new employees while also lessening legal risks during the hiring process.

For more information about Safe Hiring Programs and background checks for job applicants, visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) at