There were 5.4 million new job openings in May, and 4.1 million job separations, according to the Department of Labor’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released on Tuesday. This is an improvement over April’s 7.7 million separations and 11.5 million layoffs in March. The number of people dismissed from their jobs last month sits lower than it did in January and February of this year.
Hirings and new job openings are on the rise, but it isn’t enough yet to counter the 21 million Americans who are still seeking a job. New openings are still 23% lower than they were in February, and there are currently 15.6 million more job seekers than open positions right now.
New applications for unemployment benefits are plateauing, after spiking at nearly 7 million in March, and subsequently dropping each week after. New claims have leveled off around 1.5 million for the past two measurement periods. Meanwhile, the number of people receiving ongoing unemployment benefits has fallen by 2 million in May. The next report on unemployment claims is due out on Thursday morning. You can check back here to see which direction those numbers head in.
Overall, the unemployment situation is gradually improving. Headline unemployment for June fell to 11.1%, from 13.3% in May and 14.7% in April. 7.5 million jobs have been created after losing 22.2 million positions in March and April. We’re in a deep hole, but we are digging our way out.
The biggest jump in new job openings were in food service and hospitality (196,000), but manufacturing hiring was healthy too. 100,000 more manufacturing positions were created in May than in April. Transportation and warehousing saw 9,000 separations in May.