Report: August job growth puts Boston among top cities in nation

Openings signal start to recovery, economists say

FILE – This May 7, 2020, file photo shows a man wearing a mask while walking under a Now Hiring sign at a CVS Pharmacy during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Boston had the second-highest month-over-month growth in job openings in the nation in August, part of a slight uptick in openings nationally, according to a new report.

Boston had 120,519 job openings, a 7.6% increase over July, but down 22.8% over the same period last year, according to Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting websites.

The growth last month was second only to that of Chicago, which had 168,575 job openings, up 9.4% from July, but 18% lower than last August, the report said.

“The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Massachusetts had the highest unemployment rate in the nation, so the fact that there are employers seeking to fill positions is a very good sign,” said Greg Sullivan, research director at the Pioneer Institute, a public-policy think tank in Boston. “This shows Massachusetts is starting to climb out of the economic collapse.”

Jay Zagorsky, an economist at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, said part of Boston’s steep rebound is the reopening of the metro area’s many colleges.

“But while the snap back is doing quite well, I don’t think it will reach the peaks we were at nine months ago,” Zagorsky said.

Nationally, job openings improved slowly in August, rising 2% month-over-month to 4.97 million, but they are still 18% below pre-pandemic levels, showing there is still a long road ahead for the economic recovery.

“It’s a reflection of both how deep the economic hole is that we’re in and also the improvement that comes from states and businesses reopening,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor.