It is no secret that the labor market is struggling, which is reflected in the high unemployment rate. Unfortunately, now there is more bad news. In the month of April 2012, the number of job openings fell to its lowest point in five months, and also showed its lowest monthly percentage decline in more than seven years. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, JOLTS, at the end of April, there were 3.4 million job openings, an eight percent decline from the previous month. Also, the pace of total hiring slowed down, with 160,000 fewer jobs being filled during the month.

The April decrease in job openings occurred throughout the employment spectrum, with manufacturing having 62,000 fewer openings, and construction having 2,000 fewer openings. Leisure and hospitality, which had been a leading area of job growth, had 3,000 fewer openings, validating concerns that the slowdown in the labor market is a threat to the ongoing economic recovery that has been occurring since the official end of the recession in June 2009. Also, government job openings decreased by 42,000 due to belt-tightening at the state and local levels. Unfortunately, there is no sign of immediate improvement, as the unemployment rate went up to 8.2 percent in May. In response to this economic stagnation, the Federal Reserve plans to enact quantitative easing measures to provide a boost. Quantitative easing is when central banks purchase financial assets to inject a pre-determined quantity of money into the economy, lowering long-term interest rates and hopefully stimulating consumption.

In a difficult labor market such as the one we are currently experiencing, it is more important than ever to be vigilant in the job search. Constantly update your resume, and boost your credentials by taking graduate courses if you feel it is necessary. Also, you should be open to relocation; while it is not always the most convenient, sometimes it is best to go where the most jobs are. Always be willing to learn, since candidates who have diverse skills are those most primed to succeed. There is going to be a lot of competition for the job of your dreams, so do anything you can to give yourself an edge. Be sure to check out America’s Job Exchange for our job seeker tools and solutions.


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