Aug 30, 2022 - Economy & Business

U.S. job openings unexpectedly jump in July, defying labor market slowdown fears

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Employers had a historically high number of job openings in July, according to new government data, the latest sign of the ongoing voracious demand for workers.

Why it matters: The job market is extremely tight, despite the Federal Reserve's efforts to loosen it up. Labor-hungry employers continue to compete for a limited supply of workers.

By the numbers: There were 11.2 million job openings in July, slightly more (+200,000) than in June. Most sectors continued to post more jobs than they did in June.

  • Durable goods manufacturing was among the few industries with decreasing job openings, a possible byproduct of the demand slowdown for these products.
  • The number of open jobs for every unemployed worker ticked back up to 2, an unprecedented phenomenon before the pandemic hit.

The big picture: The Fed's best-case scenario is to slow demand by bringing down the level of job openings, without causing a big rise in unemployment. But current job openings are cutting against the central bank's strategic grain.

The bottom line: July's labor market dynamics were remarkably similar to that of months past. Job vacancies are historically high, layoffs are near an all-time low, and quits are still elevated.

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