US job openings dropped to 11-month lows in February and hiring decreased, which could partially explain a slowdown in job growth during that month.
The labor market is a pillar of support for the economy on signs that activity was easing. But not because of the boost from a $1.5-T tax cut package and the effects of interest rate hikes last year.
“The February job openings data reinforced that the labor market weakened in February but there isn’t any cause for concern,” a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1-M, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015. The mark was the lowest since March 2018.
Vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry fell by 103,000 jobs in February. There were 72,000 fewer job openings in the real estate and rental and leasing sector. Job openings in the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector dropped by 66,000.
NFPs increased by 33,000 (an anomaly) jobs in February, the fewest since September 2017. The near-stall in job gains was partially blamed on colder weather after robust increases in December and January.
Job growth picked up in March, with the economy creating a whopping 196,000 positions, the government reported last Friday.
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