July saw fewer jobs posted by U.S. employers but they still hired more workers, an indicator of only modest improvement in the job market. For the month, openings number 3.7 million, a decline of 180,000 from June. However, hiring increased to 4.4 million, an increase of 100,000 over June and gaining on the five million job pace pre-recession.
Layoffs also fell to a 13-year low dropping to 1.5 million, the lowest since 2001. Job growth remains steady, but extremely slow, and most of the growth has come from the record decline in layoffs. All told, employers added 169,000 jobs in August while the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent as more people gave up the job search.
The decreased number of jobs has led to further difficulties for the unemployed seeking work. Case in point, in July, there were over an average of three people competing for each open job. A sign of a healthy economy is a ration of two workers per job opening. Openings fell in nearly all industries except manufacturing and hotels and restaurants.
Confidence in the job market appeared to be up slightly in July as more people quit their jobs. The number of people quitting was up 63,000 in July, rising to a total of 2.27 million. However, a strong economy typically sees 2.5 to 3 million workers quitting each month. Despite the slow growth, the general consensus is that the Federal Reserve will begin tapering down its purchases of bonds beginning in September, leading to slowly rising interest rates.