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These industries had the biggest swings in job openings

Written by:
February 1, 2024
Updated on June 5, 2024
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These industries had the biggest swings in job openings

Job openings are at some of their lowest levels nationally since March 2021, Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows. But levels remain elevated compared to the two years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 8.1 million open jobs at the end of April 2024—about 1 million above pre-pandemic levels.

While Americans still find themselves largely employed, their capacity to resign and switch jobs is quickly falling to levels predating the Great Resignation, when the quit rate reached 3% at its peak in spring 2022. Employers continued adding jobs, upping employment by 175,000 in April, with the majority of gains in health care and the social assistance sector, as well as manufacturing and warehousing. The unemployment rate remained relatively consistent, measuring 3.9%.

Excess labor demand is declining and the labor market is rebalancing, as Conrad DeQuadros, a senior economic adviser at Brean Capital, told Reuters. For workers, this means less confidence in finding new employment outside their current jobs. For employers, it could mean tempering wage inflation.

To discover which industries are driving the job market, Stacker used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover report to see which industries added job openings in April and which saw openings shrink. Industries are ranked by the percent change in job openings from April 2023 to 2024. Monthly data is preliminary.

The BLS records job openings on the last business day of the month and calculates the rate as a percent of total employment plus job openings within the industry. The list below provides a snapshot of the economic activity across categories—retail, finance, construction, and more.

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#17. Retail trade

- Total job openings, April 2024: 528,000
--- Annual change: -332,000 (down 38.6%)
--- One-month change: +21,000 (up 4.1%)
- Job openings rate: 3.3%

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#16. Transportation, warehousing, and utilities

- Total job openings, April 2024: 337,000
--- Annual change: -197,000 (down 36.9%)
--- One-month change: +2,000 (up 0.6%)
- Job openings rate: 4.5%

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#15. Wholesale trade

- Total job openings, April 2024: 189,000
--- Annual change: -95,000 (down 33.5%)
--- One-month change: -8,000 (down 4.1%)
- Job openings rate: 3.0%

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#14. Arts, entertainment, and recreation

- Total job openings, April 2024: 147,000
--- Annual change: -64,000 (down 30.3%)
--- One-month change: -12,000 (down 7.5%)
- Job openings rate: 5.3%

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#13. Information

- Total job openings, April 2024: 109,000
--- Annual change: -42,000 (down 27.8%)
--- One-month change: -43,000 (down 28.3%)
- Job openings rate: 3.5%

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#12. Mining and logging

- Total job openings, April 2024: 27,000
--- Annual change: -8,000 (down 22.9%)
--- One-month change: -3,000 (down 10.0%)
- Job openings rate: 4.0%

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#11. Manufacturing

- Total job openings, April 2024: 516,000
--- Annual change: -131,000 (down 20.2%)
--- One-month change: -30,000 (down 5.5%)
- Job openings rate: 3.8%

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#10. Accommodation and food services

- Total job openings, April 2024: 937,000
--- Annual change: -229,000 (down 19.6%)
--- One-month change: -97,000 (down 9.4%)
- Job openings rate: 6.2%

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#9. State and local government

- Total job openings, April 2024: 480,000
--- Annual change: -97,000 (down 16.8%)
--- One-month change: -7,000 (down 1.4%)
- Job openings rate: 4.8%

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#8. Finance and insurance

- Total job openings, April 2024: 336,000
--- Annual change: -63,000 (down 15.8%)
--- One-month change: +15,000 (up 4.7%)
- Job openings rate: 4.8%

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#7. Health care and social assistance

- Total job openings, April 2024: 1.5 million
--- Annual change: -262,000 (down 14.5%)
--- One-month change: -204,000 (down 11.7%)
- Job openings rate: 6.5%

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#6. State and local education

- Total job openings, April 2024: 266,000
--- Annual change: -45,000 (down 14.5%)
--- One-month change: -59,000 (down 18.2%)
- Job openings rate: 2.4%

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#5. Professional and business services

- Total job openings, April 2024: 1.5 million
--- Annual change: -255,000 (down 14.4%)
--- One-month change: +122,000 (up 8.8%)
- Job openings rate: 6.2%

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#4. Federal government

- Total job openings, April 2024: 139,000
--- Annual change: -13,000 (down 8.6%)
--- One-month change: -5,000 (down 3.5%)
- Job openings rate: 4.4%

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#3. Construction

- Total job openings, April 2024: 338,000
--- Annual change: -25,000 (down 6.9%)
--- One-month change: -8,000 (down 2.3%)
- Job openings rate: 3.9%

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#2. Private educational services

- Total job openings, April 2024: 213,000
--- Annual change: +62,000 (up 41.1%)
--- One-month change: +50,000 (up 30.7%)
- Job openings rate: 5.2%

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#1. Real estate and rental and leasing

- Total job openings, April 2024: 155,000
--- Annual change: +55,000 (up 55.0%)
--- One-month change: -18,000 (down 10.4%)
- Job openings rate: 5.8%

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