U.S. employers advertised more jobs in May than April, a hopeful sign after three months of weak hiring.
The Labor Department says job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 3.6 million, up from 3.4 million in April. May's total is the second highest for the year. Still, layoffs also increased, an indication that the job market is still struggling.
A rise in openings could mean hiring will pick up in the coming months. It typically takes one to three months to fill a job.
Even with the increase, the competition for jobs remains fierce. There were 12.7 million unemployed people in May, or an average of 3.5 unemployed people for each open job. In a healthy job market, the ratio is usually around 2 to 1.