Employers Posted More Job Openings in March

(CN) – U.S. employers advertised more jobs in March, but the pace of actual hiring remained unchanged – a sign the job market remains steady as summer and college graduations approach.

The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings rose 1.1 percent in March to a seasonally adjusted 5.7 million. In the meantime, hiring in March edged up a mere 0.2 percent and is still running below the levels seen in January and December.

But more Americans felt confident enough in March to quit their jobs, as the number of quits rose 2.6 percent to 3.1 million. Economists say while workers quitting may not be great for employers, it’s a sign either that workers are having an easier time securing a new job or are optimistic they can find one.

On a related note, a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that employers expect to hire 5 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2017 than they hired from the Class of 2016.

The increase reported in NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 Spring Update represents a slight dip from the original 5.8 percent increase that employers projected in the fall.

One factor that may be limiting this increase is that the overall hiring projection includes both U.S. and international students who will be hired for U.S. positions, and employers expect to decrease the hiring of international students for these openings, the association said.

Among respondents sharing their international student hiring plans, nearly 46 percent are decreasing their international student hires within the United States and just 24.2 percent are increasing these hires. This is not surprising:

When surveyed in the fall, just 27.5 percent of respondents reported plans to hire international students from the Class of 2017, down from 32.8 percent that reported such plans for the Class of 2016.

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