U.S. Job Openings Fell in August, Layoffs Up Slightly

from The Wall Street Journal,

U.S. employers pulled back sharply on job openings, while layoffs rose in August, adding to signs the labor market and overall economy are cooling. Employers’ total job openings fell 10% in August to a seasonally adjusted 10.1 million from 11.2 million the month before, the Labor Department said Tuesday. The 1.1-million drop in openings is the largest decline since the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, leaving job openings at their lowest level in a year.

Openings dropped the most in healthcare, retail and other services industries. The decline in openings coincided with an August easing of job growth. Employers added 315,000 jobs that month, compared with 526,000 jobs in July. The figures reflect a labor market that is still strong overall, but lost some steam in August

The 10.1 million job openings in August far exceeded the 6 million unemployed people looking for work. The openings also remained well above their prepandemic level in 2019, when they averaged 7.2 million. The high number of job openings and the low unemployment rate—at 3.7% in August—means that it remained relatively easy for people to find work. “Even if the labor market is cooling, it doesn’t mean it’s cold,” Mr. Stanley said.

“In a market with more job openings than workers, the competition to fill vacancies is leading to rapid wage gains now, and the resulting salary compression may lead to further upward wage pressures in the future,” he said in a speech in Atlanta. San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly, in a separate appearance in New York Tuesday, said the decline in job postings could give officials room to fight inflation.

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