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Milestone for US job market: More openings than unemployed

For the first time on record, the number of job openings in the United States exceeds the number of unemployed Americans.

With employers struggling to fill openings, the number of available jobs in April rose 1 percent to 6.7 million from 6.6 million in March, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That’s the most since records began in December 2000.

Employers appear confident about the economic outlook and growth. Analysts expect faster consumer spending to help accelerate growth to roughly a 3.5 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, after growth had lagged slightly in the first three months of the year.

In July 2009 there were, on average, 6.7 unemployed people for each job. Now, there is just 0.95 jobless people per opening.

The sharpest increase in openings in April was in a category called professional and business services, which includes a range of occupations, from accountants, architects and engineers. Increased openings were also especially evident among manufacturers and at hotels and restaurants.

Regionally, the largest increases in available jobs in April were in the Midwest and West.

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