Hiring in US Hits Record Highs

Hiring in US Hits Record Highs

US job openings fell a bit in April as hiring surged to a record high, government data showed Monday.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, slipped to a seasonally adjusted 7.4-M from 7.5-M in March, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.

The job openings rate was unchanged at 4.7%.  The quits rate held at 2.3%, matching the highest mark of the economic expansion and suggesting workers remain confident in their ability to find a job.

Hiring jumped by 240,000 jobs in April to 5.9-M, the highest mark since the government started tracking the series in Y 2000. The hiring rate increased to 3.9% from 3.8% in March.

The US economy created 75,000 jobs in May after adding 224,000 in April, the government reported last Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged near a 50-yr low at 3.6%.

Key Takeaways

  • Total vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by 1.63-M, a record in data since Y 2000. That may support the idea that part of the reason behind May’s hiring slowdown owed to employers’ difficulty finding qualified workers amid the lowest jobless rate in 50 years.
  • Openings could fall in coming months as slowing economic growth and uncertainty around President Trump’s trade policies lead companies to postpone hiring and investment decisions.
  • Labor Department figures released Friday showed US employers added 75,000 jobs in May, the fewest in three months, after a downwardly revised though still-strong 224,000 advance in April. The four-month average gain was the slowest since Y 2012, suggesting the labor market is showing signs of strain.
  • The quits rate has held at 2.3% since June 2018. The most recent report showed 3.48-M Americans left their jobs, up slightly from the prior month. Fed officials watch the rate for signs of upward pressure on worker pay that may feed into inflation.
  • Hiring edged up to 5.9-M while separations also climbed, to 5.58-M
  • Total hires rose to a record high as construction and education and health services reached new peaks. Manufacturing, which has faced headwinds from slowing global growth and trade tensions, saw openings match a record 501,000. At the same time, professional and business services saw the fewest postings in almost a year.
  • Openings fell in 3 of 4 regions, while those in the Midwest rose a 2nd month.
  • Although it lags a month behind other Labor Department data, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly employment figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and hiring.

Making and Keeping America Great!

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Paul Ebeling

Paul A. Ebeling, polymath, excels in diverse fields of knowledge. Pattern Recognition Analyst in Equities, Commodities and Foreign Exchange and author of “The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report” on the US Major Market Indices™, a highly regarded, weekly financial market letter, he is also a philosopher, issuing insights on a wide range of subjects to a following of over 250,000 cohorts. An international audience of opinion makers, business leaders, and global organizations recognizes Ebeling as an expert.

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