Apr 11, 2013 12:47 PM EDT

Jobs Report: There is 1 Job for Every 3 Unemployed Americans

The number of Americans seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, suggesting March's weak month of hiring may be a temporary slowdown.

According to a Department of Labor study released Tuesday, the number of job openings rose to 3.9 million in February, while an estimated 12 million Americans were still unemployed.

Weekly unemployment aid applications dropped by 42,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The steep decline reversed sharp gains over the previous two weeks and brought the level back to a point that signals stronger job growth.

However, The National Employment Law Project says nearly 60% of all jobs lost during the downturn paid middle-income wages or better, but roughly 65% of the regained jobs are low-wage.

And not only are 45% of the nation's unemployed between age 18 and 34, but the Labor Department says the average 25-year-old has already worked 6.3 jobs since he or she turned 18. The U.S. economy would have to add another 4.1 million jobs before young adults get back to prerecession employment levels. 

With a PwC study finding that 54% of millennials planned to work for between two and five employers for their entire career and a Career Advisory Board study saying workers between 21 and 31 plan to work only five jobs total during their lifetimes, heightened expectations are crashing into reality on a regular basis in human resources waiting rooms.

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