ECONOMY

A sign of business confidence: Number of US job openings jumped to 15-year high in April

FILE - This April 22, 2014, file photo shows an employment application form on a table during a job fair at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y.  The Labor Department issues its April 2015 report on job openings and labor turnover on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

FILE - This April 22, 2014, file photo shows an employment application form on a table during a job fair at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y. The Labor Department issues its April 2015 report on job openings and labor turnover on Tuesday, June 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. employers advertised the most open jobs in April than at any time in the 15 years that the government has tracked the data, a sign that this year's steady hiring will likely continue.

The Labor Department says the number of open jobs at the end of April jumped 5.2 percent to 5.4 million. The figure suggests that employers anticipate stronger customer demand in the months ahead.

The job market has remained healthy even as the economy faltered at the start of 2015. The steady hiring shows that businesses see the economic slump as having resulted mainly from temporary factors such as a harsh winter.

On Friday, the government said employers added a robust 280,000 jobs in May after a healthy gain in April. Average hourly wages also ticked up.