The July figures from the Labor Department included 551,000 job openings in trade, transportation and utilities industries, a 33 percent increase from a year ago.
U.S. businesses posted 3.2 million job openings in July, a 13.3 percent year-over-year increase and the highest number of job openings posted since August 2008. Manufacturing, transportation and utilities accounted for the biggest gains in job openings in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Month-to-month, the number of job openings at wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing businesses and utilities increased 7 percent in July from June.
The figures indicate businesses are trying to hire more employees, but also indicate they are still losing more people than they have openings to replace. The rate of total “separations” or job losses dropped 2.7 percent year-over-year in July, the BLS figures show. But at 3.9 million, they exceeded job openings.
And job openings don’t necessarily translate into more jobs, at least not quickly, as the department’s August employment numbers seem to indicate.
Employers in the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 778,000 employees in July, down 2 percent from a year ago, but still representing 227,000 more jobs than were posted that month.
U.S. employers failed to make a net gain in jobs in August, the Labor Department said last week, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. Seasonally adjusted transportation and warehousing employment slipped about half of one percent in August from July, though it was up 2.1 percent from a year ago.