By Shobhana Chandra
NEW YORK - Job openings in the U.S. rose in June to the highest level in four years, foreshadowing more consistent employment gains in the second half of the year.
The number of positions waiting to be filled climbed by 105,000 to 3.76 million, the most since July 2008, from a revised 3.66 million the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Hiring and firings cooled.
A rising need for workers, indicating some employers are expanding as sales improve, lays the ground for a pickup in employment that may help accelerate consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
Labor Department data last week showed payrolls rose more than forecast in July even as the unemployment rate climbed to a five-month high.
“With a little luck, the strength in July could become self-reinforcing,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Penn., said before the report. Still, “it’s too early to celebrate.”