Jun 1, 2022 - Economy & Business

U.S. job openings are near record highs

A "Now Hiring" sign on a Long Island store

A hiring ad on the windows of the Advance Auto Parts store in Bay Shore, New York. Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

America's demand for workers is still hot: The number of job openings were near all-time highs and managers laid off the fewest employees on record in April, the Labor Department said on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The labor market remains tight as employers's appetite for labor outruns the pool of available workers. It's a boon for the American workforce, but a challenge for the Federal Reserve that wants to cool off the labor market to help tame soaring inflation.

By the numbers: Job openings ticked down to 11.4 million in April, close to the record high set in March (which was revised higher by 300,000, to 11.8 million job openings).

  • Some 4.4 million workers quit their jobs — roughly the same as the prior month, a sign that this closely-watched metric may be starting to level off, though at historically high levels.
  • The quits rate has soared as Americans trade up for, in most cases, better-paying jobs. The phenomenon had been particularly pronounced in the leisure and hospitality sector, but there was a drop-off in April: The quits rate fell to 5.2% in April from 5.7%.
  • Another industry, real estate, saw its quits rate jump from 1.9% to 3.5%.

The bottom line: There are about 1.9 open jobs for every unemployed American, down from 2 jobs in March — a sign of an on-fire labor market.

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