Dee DePass has been a Star Tribune business reporter since 1993, covering small business, financial institutions, manufacturing and, most recently, the economy. Originally from New York, Dee came to Minnesota after earning her master's in journalism at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at Vassar College.

Job openings grew slightly in October.

Posted by: Dee DePass under Job-searching Updated: December 13, 2011 - 2:52 PM

There were 3.3 million job openings in America in October, which isn't stellar but enough to continue the year over year hiring uptick seen since the recession ended in June 2009, officials with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday.

The nation had 4 million new hires in October, up from 3.85 million for the same month a year ago. The numbers were up for all nonfarm sectors except government. The slight movement indicates slow progress for a battered economy that needs a significant jump start on job creation if the nation is to return to pre-recession employment levels by 2014, say economists who follow the labor market closely.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington, D.C. noted that even with the uptick in job openings there remain four jobseekers for every job available. EPI officials said that ratio has existed for 147 weeks. “This is why the current extended unemployment insurance benefits, which last a maximum of 99 weeks, remain crucial,” said EPI economist Heidi Shierholz.

According to the BLS, October's 3.3 million job openings were a tad below the 3.4 million reported in September and well below the 4.4 million job openings reported before the recession began in December 2007.  The nation's current non-farm hiring rate is 3.1 percent.That is just ahead of the 3.0 percent employee separations rate reported for the month of October.

 U.S. unemployment is at 8.6 percent with 13.3 million Americans still looking for work. Minnesota posts November unemployment numbers Thursday.
 

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