There were fewer job openings and layoffs in June, indicating a stable job market, per a report released Tuesday.
The Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey that there were 9.58 million employment openings for the month, a little decline from the downwardly revised 9.62 million in May. The number of openings fell to their lowest point since April 2021 and fell short of FactSet's projection of 9.7 million.
In addition, the JOLTS data stated that layoffs decreased slightly to 1.53 million from 1.55 million in May.
For hints about the future of a job market that has been remarkably durable despite a series of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes intended to slow down the economy and inflation, economists were intently examining the two data sets.
“This is definitely heading in the Goldilocks direction,” according to Rachel Sederberg, a senior economist at labor analytics firm Lightcast. “We still have a long way to go, and we still have a very high number of openings, especially as compared to where we were pre-pandemic. But we’re heading in the right direction and we’re doing so in a calm manner, which is what we want to see.”
While businesses are still keeping employees, a decline in job postings and layoffs suggests that demand for labor is dropping gradually, as the Fed anticipates, and that the unemployment rate is unlikely to increase any time soon.
While the Fed considers its options after raising interest rates by a total of 5.25 percentage points since March 2022, the JOLTS report is a crucial signal.
“A variety of economic data show the U.S. economy was cruising in the second quarter. The June JOLTS data is no exception,” said Nick Bunker, head of economic research for the Indeed Hiring Lab. “The pace of the current slowdown may be too gradual for many policymakers at the Federal Reserve, as job openings are only gradually declining. But workers have much to celebrate and still possess substantial leverage.”
The total number of job opportunities in June is down by nearly 1.4 million, or 12.6%, from the same time last year. According to data from the Labor Department, there are currently 1.6 job opportunities for every worker who is available.
Health care, social assistance, and state and local government, excluding education, saw an increase in job openings, whereas utilities, transportation, and warehousing as well as state and local government education saw decreases.
A decline in hiring to 5.9 million, a drop of 0.2 percentage points as a share of total employment, occurred along with the reduction in vacancies and layoffs. Quits also experienced a significant decline, falling by around 300,000 or 0.2 percentage points.