(CN) – The number of open jobs in the U.S. dropped more than 500,000 to 7.1 million in February, the lowest level in nearly a year, but there are still almost 1 million more available positions than unemployed Americans.
Job openings decreased from 7.6 million in January, marking the lowest number of open jobs since March 2018. But with about 6.2 million unemployed, there are about 900,000 more open jobs than jobless people.
Openings have outpaced the number of unemployed Americans for about a year, a trend that began last spring for the first time in nearly two decades.
While the drop in open jobs may stoke fears about a slowing economy, January’s 7.6 million openings was the second highest level on record.
According to a Labor Department report released Tuesday, there were 523,000 fewer job openings in the private sector in February compared to the month before while government openings didn’t change significant.
The accommodation and food services industry saw the largest decrease with 103,000 fewer open jobs compared to January. The real estate, rental and leasing field saw a drop of 72,000 job openings while transportation, warehousing and utilities openings dropped by about 66,000.
The number of overall hires in February stayed the same, at about 5.7 million. The number of people quitting their jobs was also unchanged at 3.5 million.
While worker departures can be difficult for employers, economists see them as a positive sign because most people who quit do so for higher-paying positions.
The Labor Department reported last week that American employers added 196,000 new jobs in March, a big rebound from the paltry 33,000 jobs added in February.