(CN) — Employers in April advertised the most open jobs in 16 years, at the same time that hiring fell — a sign that businesses are struggling to find qualified employees as the unemployment rate declines.
The Labor Department said Tuesday that advertised job openings rose 4.5 percent in April to more than 6 million. That’s the highest number since December 2000, when the government first began tracking the data.
But the spike in job listings came during a month when actual hiring fell 4.8 percent to just over 5 million.
Economists say the numbers suggest the U.S. is at or near full employment, when most of those who want a job have one and those who are still counted as unemployed are only temporarily out of work.
On Friday, the government said Friday employers added just 138,000 jobs last month, about one-third below last year’s average monthly gain.
Friday’s figures represent a net total of jobs added minus jobs lost; Tuesday’s report includes overall hiring data.
The Labor Department said job openings posted in construction surged by about 25 percent in April from the previous month, while listings by hotels and restaurants jumped 18 percent.