May 9, 2012 in Business

March job postings might signal strength

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. companies in March posted the highest number of job openings in nearly four years, a sign that hiring could strengthen in the coming months after slowing this spring.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised 3.74 million job openings in March. That’s up from a revised 3.57 million in February and the most since July 2008, just before the financial crisis erupted.

The increase in U.S. job openings suggests that weaker hiring gains in March and April could be temporary. It usually takes one to three months for employers to fill openings.

Even with the increase, roughly 12.7 million people were unemployed in March. That means an average of 3.4 people competed for each open job. While that’s far better than the nearly 7-to-1 ratio when the recession ended, in a healthy job market, the ratio is usually around 2 to 1.

Tuesday’s report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTs, showed that more people quit their jobs in March.

More quits are a good sign because most people quit in order to move to a new job.

DETROIT – Rising car and truck sales have prompted Ford Motor Co. to add a week of production at 13 North American factories so the company can make another 40,000 vehicles this year.

Ford said Tuesday that it would cut in half the normal two-week summer shutdown at six assembly plants and seven engine and parts plants.

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