FORTUNE -- If you've given up looking for work, it might be a good time to start again.
That's because there are more job openings today than at any point since January 2008, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report released Tuesday by the Labor Department.
There were 4.2 million jobs open in the U.S. in February, up from 3.9 million in January. The largest increase in job openings occurred in the retail and professional business services sectors, while there were slight dips in the number of openings within the construction, manufacturing, and government sectors between January and February.
Another key data point in the report is the quit rate, or the rate at which workers voluntarily leave their jobs. That remained steady at 1.7% of the workforce, down from the pre-recession norm of more than 2%, but still much higher than the 2009 low of 1.2%. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has specifically stated that she pays attention to this figure when assessing the health of the labor market.
Bear in mind that the JOLTS data released today is for February, whereas last week's job report painted a picture of the job market in March. Today's JOLTS report dovetails with what was generally considered a positive report, and supports economist's arguments that the soft jobs numbers reported this winter were more weather-related than a sign that the economic recovery is slowing.
Today's report suggests that the labor market is slowly but surely improving. It's never easy being out of work and looking for a job, but the data show that it's a lot easier today than a year or two ago.
Data from the Brookings Institution shows that teen employment declined 42% from 2000-2011. What is it with kids these days?
FORTUNE -- The job market isn't great for anyone these days, but for teenagers, the picture is downright dismal.
According to a new study released last Friday by the Brookings Institution, the employment rate for teens aged 16-19 has fallen from 45% in 2000 to 26% in 2011, the lowest rate for MOREChristopher Matthews - Mar 17, 2014 2:54 PM ET
Aren't there better things we can talk about other than the weather? Let's talk about it.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 6, 2014 2:07 PM ET
Over the past decade, a percentage point jump in GDP has created about 115,000 extra jobs a month. These days it's about half that.
FORTUNE -- On Thursday, we received more evidence that the economy is broken.
The government said GDP rose 3.2% in the last three months of 2013 -- one of the fastest rates since the end of the recession, though slower than the third quarter's 4.1%. Still, that sounds MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Jan 30, 2014 3:17 PM ET
Friday's disappointing jobs report raises the question of whether the Federal Reserve moved too quickly to reduce its bond-buying stimulus efforts.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Jan 10, 2014 11:45 AM ET
November's jobs report shows the U.S. created slightly more middle-wage jobs and a bit fewer lower-wage gigs. But we're certainly not out of the woods yet.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Dec 6, 2013 1:18 PM ET
The labor market had a groundhog day.
FORTUNE -- Different report, same numbers.
Squint at January's job numbers and you might think you are looking at the stories from a month ago. Employers added 157,000. The initial report from December was 155,000. (It has since been revised up.) Unemployment rate: 7.9%. In December: 7.8%.
At the start 0f 2012, the unemployment rate was falling pretty rapidly. In the four month period from October MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 1, 2013 11:39 AM ET
A lack of corporate raiders and an investor preference for safety could be a better answer to the cash puzzle.
Fortune -- About a year or so ago, corporate balance sheets, for some, became exhibit No. 1 of how President Obama was killing the recovery.
The argument was over cash. Ever since the financial crisis, corporations have hoarded an increasing amount. The pile reached $2.2 trillion at the end of last year, MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Jun 6, 2012 6:00 AM ET
Two years after the recession ended, U.S. workers still face a grim job market. And with tepid economic growth and an election year breeding uncertainty, companies are likely to have the upper hand for some time.
By Katherine Reynolds Lewis, contributor
FORTUNE -- It's a tough time to celebrate the American worker. This coming Monday marks the third consecutive Labor Day with an unemployment rate topping 9% and 14 million Americans looking for work. MORESep 2, 2011 5:00 AM ET
In a nutshell, it's because they don't have much choice.
The bright spot in a drab employment picture is that workers have been stretched so thin during the past couple years that companies are going to have to (gasp!) hire more.
You may be understandably suspicious. Corporate America has been raking in massive profits – they flooded in at a record $1.68 trillion annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010 MOREColin Barr - May 6, 2011 6:32 AM ET
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