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According to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in January was 3.5 million, unchanged from December. Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.3 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the number of job openings has increased 45 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009. The report also adds that while the annual totals for hires and quits increased in 2011, the annual total for layoffs and discharges decreased. Over the 12 months ending in January 2012, hires totaled 50.2 million and separations totaled 48.3 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.0 million.

More Home Shoppers Moving to Mobile

The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets is shaping local home searches as shoppers look for ways to easily access listing information while on the go, according to a new Mobile Home Shoppers study from The Real Estate Book/

Nearly all (98 percent) of homebuyers who used a mobile device in their search process considered it a valuable tool, with 46 percent describing it as “essential” and 52 percent describing it as “helpful.” Sixty-eight percent said they contacted a real estate professional to view a home based on their mobile search, and 85 percent of non-users stated they’d consider using a mobile device in their next home search.

The survey also revealed that home shoppers use their mobile device in the following ways:
• 78 percent viewed photos and videos of homes.
• 66 percent inquired for more information about a listing.
• 60 percent found listing details, price, description, amenities and contact information.
• 57 percent located a house listing with GPS.
• 55 percent searched by city.
• 42 percent downloaded a home-buying search app.
• 30 percent shared listing information with friends and family.

Americans Saving—not Spending—Refunds

Today’s new, financially prudent consumer is choosing to stash their tax refund away as opposed to splurging. In fact, according to a recent survey from, only 10 percent of American taxpayers plan to spend their anticipated federal and state tax refunds on vacations, down dramatically from 30 percent last year when a similar poll was taken. Most Americans said they will use their refunds to pay off debts (29 percent) or add to their savings or investments (27 percent).

The survey revealed that of the 67 percent of Americans who expect to receive tax refunds this year:

• Fewer individuals plan to make home improvements (8 percent vs. 31 percent), buy products such as cars, electronics or furniture (8 percent vs. 23 percent) or pay mortgages or education loans (5 percent vs. 19 percent).

• Fewer people plan to give their refunds to charity (2 percent vs. 15 percent).

• Those who plan to “do something else” with their refunds dropped to 9 percent from 38 percent in 2011.

Retirement or…‘Rehirement’?

Thanks to a challenging economy and evolving lifestyle preferences, 57 percent of workers ages 60 and older report that they would look for a new job after retiring from their current company. Some workers are postponing retirement out of economic necessity; they just can’t afford to quit. Others, however, are choosing to continue the nine-to-five routine for a variety of reasons.

Many employers are actually seeking older job candidates:

• 43 percent of employers plan to hire workers ages 50 and older this year.
• 41 percent said they hired workers ages 50 and older in 2011.
• 75 percent of the employers would consider an application from an overqualified worker who is 50 or older, with 59 percent of those employers saying they would do this because mature candidates bring a wealth of knowledge to an organization and can mentor others.

Source: Harris Interactive survey for