Advertisement
  1. Business

U.S. job openings hit 14-year high in February

In this April 2, 2015 photo, Nathan Golder, left, speaks to Deborah Kelley, with the Georgia National Guard Family Assistance Center, about employment opportunities during a huge 15-county North Georgia job fair at The Colonnade in Ringgold, Ga. Labor Department releases job openings and labor turnover survey for February on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, Dan Henry) THE DAILY CITIZEN OUT; NOOGA.COM OUT; CLEVELAND DAILY BANNER OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT TNCHA901
Published Apr. 7, 2015

WASHINGTON — It turns out we may be able to breathe easier about the slowdown in hiring last month.

A Labor Department report Tuesday showed that job openings surged 3.4 percent to 5.1 million in February — a 14-year high.

The figure follows a disappointing jobs report Friday that showed employers added only 126,000 jobs in March, the weakest number in 15 months.

The pickup in open jobs, however, suggests that hiring could rebound in the coming months. Businesses have been slow to fill openings for much of the recovery and may start filling more of their open jobs in April.

The increase in available jobs, even as hiring slows, could also be a sign that employers will have to try harder to fill jobs. Businesses may be forced to offer higher pay to attract more workers.

The sharp rise in available jobs "is a reassuring sign that the fundamentals of the labor market have continued to improve," said Jeremy Schwartz, an analyst at Credit Suisse.

Other recent data point to better hiring and growth in the second quarter. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week. And a survey of service firms, including retailers, banks and construction companies, found that they expanded at a healthy pace last month.

To be sure, there were some negative signs in Tuesday's report. Total hiring slipped 1.6 percent in February to 4.9 million, the second straight decline. At the same time, layoffs plummeted 7.6 percent to 1.6 million, the lowest level in 16 months. That points to a high degree of job security for those who are employed.

The data in Tuesday's report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, shows that February's net gain of 264,000 jobs may not have been as good as it looked.

The gain mostly occurred because of the steep fall in layoffs.

Many economists blamed the tepid job gain on temporary factors, such as harsh winter weather, a labor dispute at West Coast ports that disrupted shipping, and a stronger dollar that has hurt U.S. export sales. Most now expect the economy expanded at only a 1 percent annual rate in the first three months of this year, down from 2.2 percent in the final three months of last year.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  2. Snack-focused delivery app GoPuff launched in Tampa in February. It serves the area surrounding the University of South Florida. GoPuff
    Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or Funyuns? GoPuff says it has the data for which snack Floridians love the most.
  3. "House Hunters," shot at a home in the Bayshore Beautiful area.  (Times | 2007) Tampa Tribune
    Whang, 57, was also a comedian and actress.
  4. The city is accepting applications for its Commercial Revitalization Program. The city has allocated $175,000 for the program this year.
  5. The Walmart supercenter at 990 Missouri Ave. faced fines in December for these storage containers in the parking lot. City officials are debating whether to make a short-term arrangement with the city two’s Largo stores this year so they can store their holiday inventory. City of Largo
    In the end, city commissioners say yes, with some reservations.
  6. More construction is on the way to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, thanks to $19.75 million in Federal Aviation Administration grants to rehabilitate the airport’s runway. (Times file photo)
    The work is expected to be complete by spring 2021.
  7. Job applicants seek information about temporary positions available with the 2020 Census, during a job fair in Miami on Wednesday designed for people fifty years or older. LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP
    The state added 22,500 jobs in August.
  8. Homeowner Cheryl Murdoch, 59, explains the workings of the Philips Smart Mirror in her bathroom. Murdoch and her husband live in the Epperson neighborhood in Wesley Chapel, home of the Crystal Lagoon, where some residents are piloting new health technologies inside their homes. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    In Pasco’s Crystal Lagoon community, AdventHealth and Metro Development Group are testing in-home technology aimed at keeping people away from the hospital.
  9. A company called Flock Safety is selling automatic license plate readers to neighborhood associations to cut down on crime, and Tampa neighborhood Paddock Oaks is one of their customers. Pictured is a Flock camera on Paddock Oaks Dr. | [Luis Santana | Times] LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    Atlanta-based Flock Safety has provided 14 area communities with high-speed, high-definition cameras for surveillance.
  10. An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft approaches Miami International Airport for landing in March. Bloomberg
    The 60-year-old veteran airline employee told investigators he was upset that union contract negotiations had stalled.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement