Job Openings in U.S. Picked Up in June Along With Hiring

  • Broad-based gains in listings including construction
  • Number of quits eased from a month earlier, rate unchanged

Job openings rose in June for the fifth time this year and hiring picked up, a sign the U.S. labor market was strong at the end of last quarter, a report from the Labor Department showed Wednesday.

Key Points 

  • Number of positions waiting to be filled climbed by 110,000 to 5.62 million (forecast was 5.68 million), from 5.51 million in May
  • Hiring increased to 5.13 million from 5.05 million; the hiring rate rose to 3.6 percent from 3.5 percent
  • Some 2.91 million people quit their jobs compared with 2.94 million in May, leaving the quits rate at 2 percent for a third month
  • Layoffs fell to 1.64 million, the fewest since September 2014, from 1.7 million

Big Picture

Elevated job listings together with the fewest number of headcount reductions in almost two years underscore the steady demand for labor, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report. The picture reinforces the latest payrolls data, which showed a rebound in June job growth and an extension of hiring into July. At the same time, the number of people quitting their job is leveling off just below the highest since 2001. The figure, which gauges workers’ willingness to voluntarily leave because they’re confident of finding a better job rate, is tracked by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. 

Economists’ Takeaways

“The underlying trend in the number of job openings is very high by historical standards, but it now appears to be rising only slowly, if at all,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics Ltd., said in a research note. “Still, we see no sign of any downturn, suggesting employers remain fundamentally bullish.”

Other Details

  • There were 1.4 unemployed people vying for every opening in June, compared with 1.8 when the recession began in late 2007
  • Factories, construction firms, health-care providers and business services posted more openings in June
  • In the 12 months through June, the economy created a net 2.5 million jobs, representing 62.3 million hires and 59.8 million separations
  • Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring
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