US job openings climb slightly in September but miss expectations as labor-market recovery slows
- Job openings in the US picked up slightly in September as the labor market continued its slow climb to pre-pandemic health.
- US job openings rose by 84,000 to 6.4 million through the month, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover, or JOLTS, survey data.
- The reading fell below the 6.5 million openings expected by economists.
- The pace of hires fell to 4.1% from 4.2% in September. This reading brings the US hiring rate modestly closer to its pre-pandemic level, although millions of Americans remain jobless.
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Job openings in the US increased more slowly than expected last month, as the labor market continued its slog back to pre-pandemic strength.
US job openings rose by 84,000 to 6.4 million through September, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, data published Tuesday. The reading lands below the 6.5 million openings expected by economists. The largest gains emerged in the transportation and warehousing, business services, and financial industries.
Openings decreased the most in the accommodation and food services, the retail trade, and construction industries.
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The ratio of jobs-to-unemployed Americans improved slightly, but remained far from pre-pandemic levels. Roughly 2 workers currently competed for each job in September, down from 2.1 in August.
Total separations, which include quits and layoffs, fell by 25,000 to 4.7 million. Separations increased in the federal government but mostly due to the temporary hiring of 2020 Census workers.
The country's quits rate climbed slightly to 2.1% from 2%, while the total jumped by 179,000 to 3 million. Quits were concentrated in the construction and arts and entertainment industries.
Layoffs and discharges fell to 1.3 million from roughly 1.5 million. The rate of layoffs and discharges declined to 0.9% last month from 1%.
The JOLTS data lags the government's monthly nonfarm payrolls report by one month. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' October report showed the US adding 638,000 jobs last month, above the 580,000 increase economists had expected. The unemployment rate fell to 6.9% from 7.9%. Economists had forecast a milder decline to 7.6%.
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