Are Job Openings Losing Steam?

Job openings in February inched lower to 11.27M from an upwardly revised 11.28M openings in January. The opening rate continues to hover near an all-time high, indicating demand for workers remains exceptionally strong. However, vacancies have been little changed the past few months, adding to signs that employers’ hiring spree may be losing steam. Hires Inch Higher, But Look to Be Topped Out Job openings were little changed at the end of February with vacancies slipping to 11.27M from 11.28M in January. While openings dipped, churn in the labor market generally remains higher than at any point in the past two decades. The gross number of hires jumped 263K in February, and at 4.4%, the hiring rate is half a percentage point above the 2019 average of 3.9%. To some extent, this is mathematical: with 2.1M fewer jobs than in February 2020, the base of the hiring rate is lower today even as employers try to replenish their payrolls. But it also reflects the pronounced degree of workers voluntarily quitting in the current labor market. As an individual quits a job for a new one, it creates the opportunity for another hire during the month or a vacancy at the end of the month if not filled. In February, the quit rate rebounded to 4.35M, or 2.9%, a hair shy of its all-time high. READ FULL ARTICLE>>