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Job openings rise to best level in three years

Sep 7, 2011 8:10:00 PM - thestate.com
Companies in July advertised the most jobs in three years, and layoffs declined – a bit of hope for a weak economy. Still, many employers are in no rush to fill openings.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that employers increased their postings to 3.23 million from 3.17 million in June. That is the largest number of openings since August 2008. Typically, it takes anywhere from one to three months to fill an opening.

More openings don’t guarantee more jobs. The government said last week that employers failed to add any net jobs in August, the worst month for hiring since September 2010. The unemployment rate stayed for the second straight month at 9.1 percent.

The worsening jobs outlook has put pressure on President Barack Obama. He is expected today to introduce a $300 billion jobs package before a joint session of Congress. The plan will likely include extensions of the payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits, tax incentives for businesses that hire and money for public works projects.

There’s heavy competition for each job. Nearly 14 million people were out of work in July. So roughly 4.3 unemployed workers were competing for each opening. That’s a slight improvement from June, when the ratio was 4.45. In a healthy economy, the ratio is closed to 2 to 1.

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