U.S. job openings soar to highest level on record

Red and white help wanted sign on storefront door
Red and white help wanted sign on storefront door
Andriy Blokhin via Shutterstock

“Help Wanted” signs sit in storefronts across the country as job openings rose nearly 8 percent to a record-breaking 8.1 million in March, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday.

Yet employers lament a severe shortage of workers as overall hiring rose only 4 percent.

A separate survey of small businesses by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 44 percent had jobs they couldn’t fill. 

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What are states doing about the hiring shortage? South Carolina, North Dakota, Montana, Mississippi, and Arkansas announced plans to end the enhanced unemployment benefits. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said people aren’t going back to work because “they’re getting as much money…by staying home.”

This week President Joe Biden publicly pushed back on that criticism and urged Americans to take jobs offered to them. 

“If you’re receiving unemployment benefits and you’re offered a suitable job, you can’t refuse that job and just keep getting unemployment benefits,” Biden said.

The $300 per week federal boost to unemployment aid started at the height of COVID-19 shutdowns.

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