(The Center Square) - There are 10.4 million job openings in the U.S., the Department of Labor said Friday, a figure that's well above the number of unemployed Americans.
"Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000)," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. "Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services (-45,000)."
The monthly jobs report released last week reported 7.4 million Americans receiving unemployment benefits, much lower than the number of available jobs.
"The unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent in October," BLS said. "The number of unemployed persons, at 7.4 million, continued to trend down. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in February 2020)."
This year, millions of Americans have quit their jobs, and that number continued to increase in September.
"The number of quits increased in September to a series high of 4.4 million (+164,000)," BLS said. "The quits rate also increased to a series high 3.0 percent. Quits increased in several industries with the largest increases in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000). Quits decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000). The number of quits increased in the West region."
The data did not say what explains the rise in resignations, though some speculate the COVID-19 mandates played a part.
Meanwhile, the DOL released weekly unemployment data Thursday showing that the number of ongoing unemployment claims rose by 59,000 to 2,160,000. However, the data did show a slight decrease in the number of first-time unemployment filers. First-time filers dropped by 4,000, down to 267,000.
"This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000," DOL said.