Connect to share and comment

US job openings fall to five-month low

3.7 unemployed Americans were competing for each open spot in April.

April us unemployment 8.1 percent job growth slowEnlarge
Job seekers line-up to give their resumes to a representative of an employment agency at a job fair at a Holiday Inn on April 18, 2012. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of jobs available in the US slid to a five-month low in April, according to the latest data from the US Labor Department.

The US in April had 3.42 million job openings, 325,000 fewer than a month earlier. The drop is the biggest in nearly four years, Bloomberg said. It left 3.7 Americans vying for each open spot. 

The data makes for the most competitive job market since November and shows openings are down across industries. 

"The report was soft, lending some credence to the view that the April-May slowing seen in the payroll report was real and not a statistical fluke," Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan in New York, told Reuters.

The US employment picture has become increasingly gloomy with latest data showing the US added far fewer jobs than expected in May. That anemic growth has the US unemployment rate stuck at above 8 percent, and today's data is particularly discouraging against that backdrop. The data also showed Americans haven't yet become confident enough about their job prospects to leave whatever positions they've been clinging on to for dear life. 

More from GlobalPost: Unemployment rises to 8.2 percent in May

When the US recession officially ended in 2009, there were 6.2 unemployed Americans competing for each open spot. At the beginning of the US downturn in late 2007, that figure stood at 1.8. 

More from GlobalPost: Banking on Africa's poor