(The Center Square) – Job openings in the U.S. continue to rise, now nearly doubling the number of job seekers, according to newly released federal data.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the new data Tuesday showing 11.5 million job openings for the month of March, a new record. That figure is up from 11.3 million in February and is a roughly 36% increase from the same time last year.
Hiring slightly declined in March while Americans quit their jobs 4.5 million times that month, which could include the same person quitting multiple times.
“Job openings increased in retail trade (+155,000) and in durable goods manufacturing (+50,000),” BLS said. “Job openings decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-69,000); state and local government education (-43,000); and federal government (-20,000). Job openings increased in the South region.
“Quits increased in professional and business services (+88,000) and construction (+69,000),” BLS added.
Small businesses saw some relief in March.
“In March, the job openings rate increased in establishments with 50 to 249 employees and establishments with 250 to 999 employees,” BLS said. “The job openings rate decreased in establishments with 10 to 49 employees.”
The data is the latest troubling economic indicator alongside the highest inflation in four decades as a third of small businesses consider shutting their doors.
Republicans laid the blame for the labor market issues at President Joe Biden’s feet. Biden has touted the economic gains since the economic plunge during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Critics, though, say those gains have not been strong or fast enough and point to soaring inflation and the job market.
Critics also blasted Biden’s recently stated plans to consider partially canceling student loan debt amid economic difficulties.
“Job openings hit a record 11.549 million last month,” said U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas. “Why should we cancel student loans when millions of paychecks are waiting?”