Job openings rise to new record high in April as US labor shortage slows hiring
job openingsjumped to 9.3 million from 8.3 million in April, setting a new record high.
- The reading comes in above the median estimate of 8.2 million and marks a fourth straight gain.
- Roughly 1.1 Americans competed for every opening, down from 1.2 as the labor shortage intensified.
Demand for workers in the US intensified in April as nationwide reopening squared off with an unprecedented labor shortage.Job openings rose to a record-high 9.3 million from 8.3 million in April, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or
The Tuesday JOLTS report showed fewer Americans competing for each opening. About 1.1 available workers existed for each open job, down from 1.2 in March. The reading compares to a pre-pandemic average of 0.8 and a crisis peak of 5.
A detailed look at April hiring and firingLike the jobs report published on Friday, the JOLTS release includes more a granular look at which sectors thrived and which lagged, albeit one month behind the Bureau of Labor Statistics' report.
The accommodations and food services sector added the most job openings throughout April, with a gain of 349,000 positions. The educational services sector shed 23,000 openings, setting the month's largest decline.Separations, which include layoffs and quits, jumped by 324,000 to 5.8 million. Quits rose to a record-high 4 million from 3.6 million. Layoffs and discharges fell by 81,000 to 1.4 million, mirroring the downward trend in weekly jobless claims.
The US hiring rate held steady at 4.2%. That's just above the pre-pandemic trend and suggests the labor shortage intensified through April.
The latest labor-market diagnosis
While the JOLTS report lends more detail to how the
Economists largely viewed the report as a lukewarm print. "With unemployment benefits set to fade in the fall, we may be waiting until the end of summer before we see clear evidence of a fundamentally healing labor market," Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, said.
The Friday report also showed wages surging for a second consecutive month. Economists have looked to average hourly earnings for signs of whether labor shortages are merely overblown anecdotes or signs of a more widespread shift. Combined with the marked climb in openings through the spring, the strong upward pressure on wages backs up reports that Americans are holding off on returning to work.
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