US job openings hit new record, hires on the rise


People line up outside a recently reopened career center for in-person appointments in Louisville, US on April 15, 2021. REUTERS / Amira Karaoud

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (Reuters) – Job vacancies in the United States hit a new record in June and hiring has also increased, indicating that the supply constraints that have held back the job market remain high so even as the pace of economic recovery accelerates.

Job vacancies, a measure of labor demand, rose from 590,000 to 10.1 million on the last day of June, the Labor Department said on Monday in its monthly survey of job openings. employment and labor turnover, or JOLTS report.

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Economists polled by Reuters predicted that job vacancies would rise to 9.28 million in June. Job vacancies increased in all four regions and the vacancy rate fell from 6.1% to 6.5%.

Employers have struggled to rehire workers quickly to keep up with the speed at which the economy has emerged from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shaken many businesses as restrictions and fears of the virus have kept people at home.

The open-to-hire ratio, despite a decline in June, remained at historically high levels, “said Peter McCrory, analyst at JPMorgan.

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Acute labor shortages have been reported, particularly in leisure and hospitality. Generous unemployment benefits, childcare issues and lingering concerns about the virus have also been cited as factors preventing people from returning to the workforce.

The largest increases in the number of job vacancies in June were in professional and business services, retail trade, and accommodation and food services.

But Monday’s data offered a sign of hope as hires rose to 6.7 million in June from 6.0 million the month before, the second largest increase since the government began tracking the series. in 2000. It was only lower than the number of hires in May 2020, which was fueled by the reopening of the economy after the first wave of closures. Economists generally expect hiring to increase more significantly as schools reopen and crisis unemployment benefits end.

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It also corresponds to more recent data. The government said on Friday that job growth accelerated in July, with U.S. employers hiring the most workers in nearly a year and continuing to raise wages.

The hiring increase in June was led by retail, with 291,000 additional positions filled, while state and local government education filled 94,000 jobs.

However, concerns remain that a resurgence in infections, driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, could again discourage some unemployed people from returning to the workforce.

Elsewhere, the report showed that the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs in June rose to 3.9 million from 3.6 million in May, well above pre-pandemic levels.

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The quit rate is widely viewed as a barometer of labor market confidence, and in June, quits were up in all but five private industry sectors, except five, in the report.

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A record 1.35 million people quit their jobs in the retail, accommodation and food industries in June, but that represented just 35% of all quits and roughly matches from these sectors in the longer term.

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Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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