Job search times get shorter

Seekers are spending less time between looking and landing a new position, without having to settle for less, according to a new study.

By Rob Kelley, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you're looking for a new job, the search got shorter while your prospects got better, according to a new survey.

Employment seekers found positions 17 percent faster between April and June than in the previous quarter, according to the Job Market Index by employment search firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The median job search time for people who got jobs was 3 months, down from 3.6 months in the previous quarter. The figure was 29 percent lower than a recent high of 4.2 months set in the third quarter of 2006.

Almost 93 percent of those seekers said they were able to get equivalent or better-quality positions, compared with nearly 91 percent last quarter.

The biggest improvement was in job seekers above age 50, whose search times decreased by an average of 32 percent from the previous quarter, according to the study.

The Challenger Job Market Index is based on a quarterly survey of 3,000 job seekers across the nation.

The survey said that labor shortages spurred by low unemployment are allowing job seekers to secure higher salaries and more generous benefits.

"Skilled workers of any age are in demand right now, but the ones in highest demand are those who can hit the ground running with little or no training and begin contributing immediately to the bottom line," said John Challenger, the search firm's chief executive in a statement. "Individuals with 20 to 30 years of experience under their belts are obviously in the best position to do this."

The firm cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the unemployment rate among workers aged 50 to 54 eased from 3.3 percent to 2.8 percent over the last two years.

The nation's overall unemployment rate stands at 4.5 percent for June. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.