Where the Job Openings Are Now
by Joe Light
Thursday, June 10, 2010
The number of job openings grew in April, indicating a continued loosening of the job market after the worst downturn in decades. Employers had a seasonally-adjusted 3.1 million openings on the last business day of April, up about 300,000 from March and about 800,000 from last summer's trough.
Industries seeing the most growth included education and health services, which saw openings rise 7% from last month, and professional and business services, which grew about 24%. Government job openings saw the largest contraction--about 8.5% fewer public sector jobs were available in April than were available in March.
The slowest growing region in April was the South, which saw openings rise by about 6%, while the Northeast, Midwest, and West saw increases of between 12% and 16%.
"We're definitely seeing a brighter outlook, but not near a rubber-band snap back," says Rich Milgram, CEO of Beyond.com, a network of 15,000 niche career websites.
Entry-level jobs posted on Beyond.com's network increased 80% between the first quarter of last year and this year, with engineering, healthcare, and information technology industries faring the best. High-paying, managerial roles saw more tepid increases, indicating that employers are choosing to fill cheap positions first, Mr. Milgram says.
Even though the number of openings has grown, it can take three to four months before increases in openings start to translate to increases in actual hires, Mr. Milgram says.
Soliant Health, a staffing firm for the health care industry, has seen requests from companies for nurse practitioners and physician assistants triple in the last year, says president David Alexander. Retailers, many of which have opened clinics inside their stores, and companies conducting in-home clinical trials have been among employers showing the most demand, while pharmacy technicians and licensed practical nurses, who don't need as much training as registered nurses, have been hard to place.
"We're just starting to see pockets of demand pick up after the layoffs last year, but employers are still having no trouble finding candidates," Mr. Alexander says.