Job openings in the United States reach their lowest level in three years. Now it’s an employer market

Job openings in the United States fell in April to the lowest level in more than three years, in line with a gradual slowdown in the labor market.

Open positions fell to 8.06 million from a downwardly revised reading of 8.36 million in the previous month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS, showed Tuesday. The figure was below all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

The drop helped reduce a ratio closely watched by the Federal Reserve (the number of job openings per unemployed worker) to the lowest level in nearly three years.

The setback was quite extensive. Vacancies in the healthcare sector fell to the lowest level in three years, while those in the manufacturing sector fell to the lowest level since late 2020. Demand for government jobs also weakened.

Vacancies in accommodation and food services also decreased, possibly reflecting California’s higher minimum wage requirements. Hiring in that industry fell to the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

Recent data indicates that the labor market is cooling, but it has been gradual through slower hiring rather than direct job cuts. Federal Reserve officials hope that trend continues to rein in demand and control inflation without putting millions of people out of work.Play video

The hiring and firing rate remained unchanged. While layoffs remain historically low, hiring has slowed, suggesting companies are comfortable that their staffing levels are adequate to meet demand.

The so-called resignation rate, which measures people voluntarily leaving their jobs, remained at the lowest level since 2020. The recent decline could indicate that people are holding on to their current jobs because they feel less confident in their ability to find a new position. .

The share of job openings fell to 1.2, the lowest since June 2021. The figure, which Fed officials pay close attention to, has fallen substantially over the past year. At its peak in 2022, the ratio was 2 to 1.

The data precedes Friday’s monthly jobs report, which is expected to show the U.S. added 185,000 jobs in May while the unemployment rate remained stable.

Some economists have questioned the reliability of the JOLTS statistics, in part because of the survey’s low response rate.

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