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United States Job openings dropped in May but still outnumber workers’ availability by 2 to 1

United States Job openings dropped in May but still outnumber workers’ availability by 2 to 1.

Job openings dropped sharply in May but still far outnumbered the level of people looking for work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

Available positions counted 11.25 million for the month, a considerable drop from the upwardly revised 11.68 million in April. 

As a share of the labor force, the rate of vacancies fell to 6.9% from 7.2%, according to the bureau’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.

Despite the decline, the job openings were better than the 11.04 million estimates from FactSet.

There were 5.95 million people estimated as unemployed in the month, meaning there were 1.9 openings per every available worker, still around historical highs.

Quits declined slightly, falling to 4.27 million as the so-called Great Resignation abated. 

The level of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs has soared in the Covid era, a sign of enhanced mobility during extreme labor shortages.

Federal Reserve officials watch the JOLTS report closely for signs of labor market slack. 

United States Job openings dropped in May but still outnumber workers' availability by 2 to 1

United States Job openings dropped in May

The U.S. unemployment rate in May was 3.6%, just above before the pandemic. 

However, there are 440,000 fewer Americans at work now than in February 2020.

Layoffs nudged higher during the month to 1.39 million after hitting a series low in April from data going back to December 2000.

Job openings declined sharply in manufacturing, professional, and business services while increasing in retail trade, leisure, and hospitality.

Hires edged lower, falling to 6.49 million, with the rate unchanged at 4.3%.

When the BLS releases the monthly nonfarm payrolls report, markets will get a more up-to-date view of the labor market Friday. 

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect growth of 250,000 jobs and an unchanged unemployment rate.

In other economic news Wednesday, the ISM services index for June registered a 55.3 reading, indicative of firms’ expansion percentage. 

That was better than the 54 Dow Jones estimate though a deceleration from the 55.9 in May.

The employment index fell to 47.4, a 2.8-point drop indicative of contraction. 

An 8.5-point jump helped the headline number in backlogs, which rose to 60.5. 

Prices edged lower to 80.1, still well in expansion territory as inflation runs at a more than 40-year high.

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