US job openings are rising despite recession talk

The economy added 200,000 more openings in July versus June.
Still looking.
Still looking.
Photo: Brian Snyder (Reuters)
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The US added 200,000 job openings in July from June, despite rising interest rates and recession fears.

The number of job openings had been slipping from April to June as the pandemic hiring frenzy eased somewhat. But employers seem to be picking up the pace again. In July, there were 11.2 million open jobs, not far off from a record high of 11.8 million in March, according to new data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That means there are now 1.9 job openings for every unemployed person in the US versus 1.8 in June.

The quits rate—the percentage of employed Americans quitting their jobs—edged down to 2.7% from 2.8% in the previous month, although Americans in the private sector are still quitting at a rate of 3.1%. Layoffs barely budged, moving up by 0.9%.

“While there are some signs of cooling, all in all the labor market is still hot,” said Ann Elizabeth Konkel, a senior economist at jobs site Indeed. “Layoffs remain low and the elevated quits rate and job openings continue to be signals of strength. Even if parts of the labor market are slowing, this report makes clear we are not in a recession.”

Will the US job market cool off in August?

The gains in openings in July were led by transportation and warehousing, along with the arts and entertainment, which added 81,000 and 53,000 openings respectively.

Hamid Moghadam, CEO of Logistics warehouse operator Prologis, noted in the company’s most recent earnings call that demand was moderating but still “exceptionally good.” Meanwhile, consumers are continuing to switch back to spending on vacations versus buying home goods such as furniture.

Another labor market report, released Monday by job search site Indeed, suggests the pace at which employers are posting jobs might have slowed down in August. According to Indeed data, job listings on the site declined by nearly 6% in the four weeks ending Aug. 19.

Still, that report showed signs that the labor market remains strong: The number of job postings is 50% higher than pre-pandemic levels.