Amid all the hype that the recession’s over and the labor market’s on the mend, we get a sobering report today from the Labor Department showing the jobs market still has a long road to recovery. From Dow Jones’ Meena Thiruvengadam:
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The number of U.S. workers laid off in February slid to its lowest level in more than a year, but job openings for the unemployed remained scarce.
For each job available at February’s end, there were 5.5 unemployed people, a report released by the Labor Department Tuesday shows.
The U.S. had 2.7 million job openings at the end of February, a slight decrease from January but higher than every other month since February 2009.
There has been a “decisive upturn” in the number of job openings in the U.S. since July, said Raymond Stone, one of the founders of Stone & McCarthy Research Associates. Hiring, however, has yet to pick up.
Stone described February’s data as “generally upbeat,” but noted that data have been “very, very weak.”
When the recession began in December 2007, there were 1.8 unemployed people per job opening. The figure rose to a high of 6.2 in 2009, the Labor Department’s data show.
Employers in February made four million hires. About 1.85 million people quit jobs in February while 1.82 million were laid off, fired or otherwise let go.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Stone said.
The fact that there are more than six unemployed people vying for every job opening doesn’t bode well for all those long-term unemployed folks. And remember there are 6.5 million people in this country considered long-term unemployed – out of work at least 27 weeks – which translates to 44% of all unemployment, up from 41% in February and 24.6% a year ago.
Don’t let anyone fool you – the jobs market has a long path to recovery.