WASHINGTON -- Job openings dropped in May from the previous month and layoffs edged up, fresh evidence that employers are reluctant to add workers.
The Labor Department says job openings fell to 3.2 million from 3.3 million in April. The dip follows two months of increasing openings, driven partly by temporary government hiring for the 2010 census.
April's upwardly revised figure was the highest in 18 months, as private job openings also rose.
May's total is 37 percent above the low point of 2.3 million openings in July 2009. But it's still far below pre-recession levels of about 4.5 million openings per month.
Layoffs increased to 1.9 million, but remain at pre-recession levels. The department says layoffs rose to a peak of 2.6 million in January 2009.