The U.S. Department of Labor says the number of openings fell by 325,000 to 3.42 million. At the same time, layoffs rose in April, the latest month in which this data is available.
Job openings declined in manufacturing, professional and business services, and in state and local governments.
It's a tough market out there for job seekers in general but particularly for older workers. As of May, job seekers age 55-plus had been out of work for an average of 56 weeks, about the same as a year earlier. For those under age 55, the duration of unemployment hit 38.5 weeks.
Of those out of work for six months or more (5.4 million as of May), 55 percent were age 55-plus.
More older workers also joined the ranks of the unemployed in May, as the jobless rate for the 55 and older group rose to 6.5 percent, up from 6.3 percent in April.
Generally, as the warm weather spreads across much of the country and summer approaches, hiring tends to slow. That was the case in May, when employers showed their reluctance to hire for a second straight month. Payrolls rose by just 69,000 workers, far less than what most economists had predicted. The April gain was revised downward to 77,000.
The jobless rate for all groups rose to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 percent. The next unemployment report is due to be released July 6.
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