A man walks past a “We Are Hiring” sign in New York City on July 8, 2022.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Job openings plunged in June to their lowest level since September 2021 in a potential sign that a historically tight labor market is starting to slow.
The total of employment vacancies fell to about 10.7 million through the last day of June, a decline of 605,000 or 5.4%, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Markets had been looking for openings of 11.14 million, according to FactSet.
Even with the sharp decline, there were still 1.8 open jobs per available worker, with the total difference at nearly 4.8 million.
Hiring also slowed during the month, dropping 2% to 6.37 million, while the level of quits, an indicator of worker mobility and confidence, was little changed but well off record levels seen earlier this year. Separations also edged lower, falling by 1.4% to 5.93 million.
Federal Reserve officials watch the JOLTS numbers closely as they assess the future path of the labor market and how that might influence interest rates. The Fed has enacted four interest rate increases this year totaling 2.25 percentage points in an effort to control inflation that has run at its fastest rate since November 1981.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 372,000 in June and the unemployment rate held at 3.6%. July’s numbers will be out Friday, with economists surveyed by Dow Jones are looking for an increase of 258,000.