The latest job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that there were 7.009 million job openings in America in September (lagged release). That was a larger than expected decline from August’s downward-revised print but still the 3rd-highest reading on record. Total hires also fell in September and hurricane Florence might have made the data a bit noisy.
Going forward, though, a slowing rate of job creation should not be surprising this late in the economic cycle as any remaining slack is removed from the labor market. More importantly, the number of unemployed Americans per job opening fell to just 0.82 in September, a new all-time low that implies there are nearly one million more vacancies than job seekers at the moment. The ratio of quits to layoffs and discharges also improved in September, highlighting U.S. workers’ increased willingness to give up their current job security for better employment opportunities. Although supportive of wage growth, this environment can also lead to higher consumer inflation as businesses try to pass on the rising cost of labor.
Sources: Econoday, U.S. DoL, FRBSL
Post author: Charles Couch