These days, it's rare to see a day pass without hearing some sort of negative commentary or sentiment towards today's economy. But, there's one characteristic about our nation's economy that folks tend to overlook -- resiliency. By definition, resiliency is "an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change." Today's economy is proving to be rather resilient - the growth is slow, but we continue to head in the right direction, even at a time when economies across the globe continue to struggle.
With the prospect of a modest, steady recovery in our future, employer confidence continues to rise. In Simply Hired's monthly U.S. Employment Outlook, we've seen job openings increase in each of the last three months. Nationwide job openings increased 4.5 percent in July, while June saw a 9.2 percent jump and May had a 3.3 percent increase. In addition, every one of the top 50 metropolitan areas experienced growth in job openings for the second month in a row. Nationwide, we're looking at a total of 4.3 million job openings right now. That's nearly a 10 percent increase from last year. Sounds promising, right?
This month's Labor Department job report was also more positive than expected, showing that over the past month, the U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace since February of this year. Employers added a total of 163,000 jobs in July. And after disappointing reports in May and June, this change of direction demonstrates strength and resilience in our economy. We've seen this again and again in our history, and it has brought us out of past recessions and slow economic times.
Consider what we've endured in the last five years: the collapse of the housing market, the financial crisis that followed, debt ceiling talks, the European debt crisis, and dramatic shifts in oil prices. All of this created the worst recession since the Great Depression, and brought consumer confidence to historic lows. With consumer spending making up 70 percent of the U.S. economy, we saw a spiral down across the economy. Businesses slowed hiring and unemployment rates rose dramatically, with millions of Americans out of work. The nation was in a panic.
Four years later, we see growth in nearly every industry. Our August U.S. Employment Outlook revealed growth in job openings in 14 out of 18 industries over the last month, including the automotive, education, financial services, real estate, and technology sectors. It also showed that over the past year, we've even seen job openings increase in some of the nation's hardest hit industries, including construction and manufacturing. In addition, strong performing industries from recent past years, such as healthcare, continue to flourish with a consistent increase in job openings. Further, small businesses, which have historically been a key engine of our economy, have resumed hiring after a lull during the recessionary period.
As employers continue to look at filling open positions and ramp their hiring efforts, our country's prospect of economic growth and recovery is bright -- albeit slow going. The U.S. economy is built upon businesses large and small, providing goods and services across a wide range of sectors. There are undeniable signs that we've seen the worst of the recent economic downturn, and that better times are ahead. If anything, our recovery from the Great Recession shows that our economy is as resilient as ever.