August 7, 2012 12:19 PM ET
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. employers posted the most job openings in four years in June, a positive sign that hiring may pick up.
The Labor Department said Tuesday job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 million in June, up from 3.7 million in May. That’s the most since July 2008. Layoffs fell.
The data follow Friday‘s report that said employers in July added the most jobs in five months. A rise in openings could signal better hiring in the coming months. It typically takes one to three months to fill a job.
Even with the increase, hiring is competitive. There were 12.7 million unemployed people in June, or an average of 3.4 unemployed people for each job.
In June, manufacturing, education and health care, and hotels and restaurants all posted more openings. Retailers and state, local and federal government agencies cut available jobs.
Overall, companies hired nearly 4.4 million people in June, down from 4.5 million in May, the JOLTS report showed. At the same time, nearly 4.3 million people were laid off, quit or left jobs for other reasons, such as retirement.
The difference between those two figures is similar to the net job gain that the Labor Department includes in the employment report each month.