Jan 4, 2023 - Economy

The job market holds steady

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The latest data on the labor market out Wednesday shows that, at least as of November, it remained remarkably robust — for better and worse.

By the numbers: There were 10.5 million job openings in November, unchanged from the prior month (which was revised slightly higher), according to new data on job openings and labor turnover (JOLTS).

  • Job openings have come down from the peak in March (11.8 million). Yet postings for workers are holding at a higher level than seen at any point before the pandemic.
  • It's a similar story for other data in the report that shows hiring and quits off their peak but still at historically high levels. Layoffs — 1.3 million in November — held near the lowest on record (the data goes back to 2000), even as the battered tech sector sheds jobs.

Why it matters: The labor market remains resilient, a bright spot for American workers. But the data also points to certain types of jobs that continue to be out of whack, with far too much demand for the number of available workers.

  • The Fed wants job openings to fall to bring the labor market into better balance. That is not happening in a meaningful way, which may strengthen its resolve to hike rates further.

What's next: The data may be painting a stale picture of labor market conditions. The December jobs report, out on Friday, will provide a more current snapshot of the job market — though even there, forecasters expect a solid gain of roughly 200,000 jobs.

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