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There Are More Job Openings Than Ever Right Now

If the labor market has gotten a little sluggish as of late, it's certainly not because there aren't enough jobs out there.

In fact, job openings in April swelled to a record high, with the government's count showing 6 million positions waiting to be filled. That represented an addition of 259,000, or a 4.5 percent gain, from March, according to the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Those numbers came during a month that saw jobs grow by 174,000, part of a recent trend that has seen gains slow down after a quick start to the year.

The openings come as employers are finding a harder time finding qualified workers; hirings for the month fell by 253,000 to 6.1 million.

But the slowdown also could be because high-paying jobs are getting harder to find. The majority of the new openings came in the accommodation and food services industry, which grew by 118,000. Open government positions also increased by 39,000, but durable goods manufacturing fell by 30,000.

"If one is looking for a job, it's out there. It just may not be exactly what is wanted," Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, said in a note. "Bottom line, the story remains the same in that the supply of labor is not meeting the demands."

The closely watched quits rate also declined for the month, falling 111,000 to about 3 million. The number is considered an indicator of worker confidence that better jobs are available elsewhere.

Layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1.6 million.