Job openings unexpectedly rise for second straight month

U.S. job openings rose greater than anticipated for the second month in a row because the labor market stays surprisingly resilient within the face of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest-rate hike marketing campaign.

The Labor Division stated Wednesday there have been 9.6 million job openings in October, a rise from the downwardly revised 9.5 million openings reported the earlier month. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv anticipated a studying of 9.2 million.

The Federal Reserve carefully watches these figures because it tries to gauge labor market tightness and wrestle inflation underneath management. The upper-than-expected determine signifies that demand for workers nonetheless outpaces the provision of obtainable staff.


Elementary school educators in Maryland

Elementary college educators collect to speak to potential hires throughout a hiring occasion for Prince George’s County college district hosted at Dr. Henry A. Smart Jr. Excessive College in Higher Marlboro, Maryland, on Aug. 2, 2023.  ((Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Put up through Getty Photos) / Getty Photos)

The central financial institution has responded to the inflation disaster and the extraordinarily tight labor market by elevating rates of interest on the quickest tempo in a long time. Officers have to this point authorized 11 charge hikes, lifting the federal benchmark funds charge to the best stage since 2001. Policymakers have signaled that an further charge hike is on the desk this yr if financial knowledge factors to a resurgence in worth pressures.

The newest jobs knowledge might give policymakers extra space to hike charges – and maintain them at elevated ranges for longer.


“Regardless of the imbalance between the demand and provide of staff within the financial system, the Fed will possible announce no change in charges at right this moment’s assembly,” stated Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Monetary. “Nonetheless, the Fed will possible maintain an general hawkish tone since inflation continues to be above the long-run goal.”

The uptick in vacancies final month largely stemmed from bars and eating places in addition to arts, leisure and recreation companies, in line with the report.

Job openings stay traditionally excessive. Earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, the best on file was 7.6 million. There are roughly 1.5 jobs per unemployed American. 

Workers replace power lines in Monterey Park, California

Staff exchange energy strains in Monterey Park, California, early on Oct. 6, 2023. ((Picture by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP through Getty Photos) / Getty Photos)

“The labor market is trending in the best course however nonetheless has a methods to go earlier than policymakers are comfy,” Roach stated.


The variety of People quitting their jobs, in the meantime, ticked increased to three.7 million, or roughly 2.3% of the workforce, indicating that staff stay assured they’ll depart their jobs and discover employment elsewhere.

Switching jobs has been a windfall for a lot of staff over the previous yr: Job-switchers noticed their actual hourly wage improve 6.7% in September, in comparison with a 5.4% pay improve for staff who stayed in the identical job, in line with latest Atlanta Fed knowledge.

The report additionally indicated that layoffs declined final month, falling from 1.7 million to 1.5 million.

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