U.S. Job Openings Rise in July; Up 30% Since Last Year

Companies are looking to hire again, a hopeful sign in an economic slump marked by high unemployment.

The number of U.S. job openings increased 6.2% month-over-month in July and surged 30% from a year earlier, the U.S. Labor Department said in a report released earlier today. U.S. companies posted 3.04 million job openings in July, up from 2.86 million in June and 2.34 million in July 2009, according to the Labor Department.

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Hospitality companies boosted job openings by 18% between June and July, while health-services and education organizations offered 9.4% more job openings, according to the report. Construction job openings, while far fewer than most other industries, jumped 43% in July.

Whether job openings mean more jobs still remains to be seen. The number of July job hires, at 4.23 million, was little changed from June, though was up 4.2% from a year earlier. The number of job openings in July also trails the number of U.S. employment opportunities that were available when the recession began in December 2007. That month, there were about 4.4 million job openings, according to the Labor Department.