Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released today indicate that the sluggish labor market in the United States is beginning to pick up slowly.
The number of job openings in September increased by 300,000 the highest level in more than three years, indicating some companies are preparing for an improving economy. This produced a total of 3.4 million job openings at the end of September, up from 3.1 million in August.
The numbers are not as strong as they should be though and elevated unemployment still remains a major challenge for the U.S. economy.
The October unemployment rate managed to edge down to 9.0% from 9.1% in the prior month but more jobs need to be created to lower it.
Last week, the Federal Reserve in its monetary policy statement projected that unemployment will remain near or above the 8% mark through 2013.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged the forecast was “unsatisfactory” and called on Congress and the White House to assist the Federal Reserve in boosting employment.
Meanwhile President Barack Obama has proposed a nearly $450 billion package of spending initiatives and tax cuts in an effort to create jobs. Unfortunately the plan has met resistance in Congress, mainly from Republicans who oppose new spending.