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Job openings hit new high in August, more than 900,000 openings than unemployed workers

October 16 2018

The number of US job openings reached another new record in August, and the number of openings outpaced the number of unemployed in August by 902,000, according to data released today from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 7.1 million job openings in August — up 18.1% year over year — and approximately 6.2 million unemployed people in the same month.

According to the updated numbers, the number of hires also reached a series high and separations were little changed compared to the previous month.

The job openings rate — a measure of job openings compared with total employment — was 4.6% in August, up from 4.0% in August 2017.

The BLS report also measures the “quits” portion of separations, where workers leave a job voluntarily, rose by 12.7% year over year to approximately 3.6 million.

“The fact that record numbers of workers are voluntarily quitting their jobs suggests that they are finding substantially better opportunities elsewhere in the economy,” Julia Pollak, labor economist at online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter, told CNBC.

 Click on chart to enlarge.

The BLS also reported today, in a separate report, that the US median weekly wage increased 3.3% year over year to $887 in the third quarter. Women had median weekly earnings of $796, or 81.8% of the $973 median for men.

Among the major occupational groups, persons employed full time in management, professional and related occupations had the highest median weekly earnings: $1,460 for men and $1,084 for women.

By educational attainment, full-time workers age 25 and over without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $556, compared with $736 for high school graduates with no college education and $1,338 for those holding at least a bachelor’s degree. Among college graduates with advanced degrees — master’s, professional, and doctoral degrees — the highest-earning 10% of male workers made $3,922 or more per week, compared with $2,789 or more for their female counterparts.

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