U.S. job openings rose unexpectedly in May, reflecting a still-resilient labor market.



CNN

The number of jobs available in the United States rose unexpectedly in May, indicating that Continued flexibility In the national labor market.

Job openings rose to 8.14 million in May, from It was revised down to 7.91 million in April.according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists had expected open jobs to fall to 7.91 million, according to FactSet consensus estimates.

Despite the increase in the number of jobs advertised, which can be Totally volatile, The JOLTS report for May was outstanding. A major event for the US labor market: The ratio of job openings to unemployed people fell to 1.22 jobs available per job seeker, matching the figure seen in February 2020, a month before the pandemic lockdowns shocked the global economy.

This ratio has been trending steadily downward since reaching a record high of 2.0. In March 2022JOLTS data shows.

“The report is another sign of a firming labor market,” Navy Federal Credit Union economist Robert Frick said in a statement Tuesday. “So far, there are no signs that job growth will slow this year, so consumer purchasing power will continue to rise and the expansion looks solid.”

Other seasonally adjusted measures of labor turnover showed continued stability in the U.S. labor market, which has slowed gradually in recent months while remaining historically strong.

Estimated hiring rose to 5.76 million from 5.62 million in April; layoffs and redundancies rose to 1.65 million in May, from 1.54 million; and voluntary resignations rose to 3.46 million from 3.45 million.

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While employment and job openings (as a percentage of total employment) rose in May, the resignation rate and layoff rate remained unchanged.

Economists have been watching the resignation rate—which has held steady at 2.2% for seven straight months—closely because it serves as a signal of workers’ willingness to test the labor market. When people change jobs, it’s usually associated with higher wages, which can make it harder to control inflation.

Wage increases for workers who change jobs have fallen dramatically since the “Great Resignation,” according to to a newly released analysis From Bank of America.

Economists there analyzed internal client data and found that average wage increases are now about half the size they were during the peak of pandemic-era job changes.

In fact, median wage increases are just below 2019 levels, David Tinsley, chief economist at the Bank of America Institute, told CNN.

“People are still moving jobs a little faster than they were before the pandemic … but the wage increases they get when they make those moves are somewhat lower,” he said. “That suggests the pendulum has swung a little bit in favor of businesses and away from workers.”

The job market appears to be at a crossroads, Nick Bunker, head of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab, wrote in a commentary published Tuesday.

“The phrase ‘little change’ was repeated no less than six times in the May JOLTS issue, and nearly all major indicators tracked showed limited significant movement, either up or down,” Bunker wrote. “This near-term stability is good. But the question remains whether this period of calm can last or whether more turbulent times lie ahead.”

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“This current level of employment is consistent with a healthy, sustainable and balanced market, but any continued declines below these current levels will become more worrying,” he added.

It may take interest rate cut He added that this aims to ensure that employers’ demand for workers does not decline significantly.

Federal Reserve officials still widely believe the labor market remains on solid footing, allowing the Fed to comfortably keep interest rates at a 23-year high while they wait for more evidence that inflation is under control.

But some Fed officials have noted that the labor market has lost momentum recently, and it is largely unclear whether it will continue to hold steady or weaken further.

“If employment starts to collapse or if the economy starts to weaken, which I’ve seen some warning signs of, you have to balance that with the progress you’re making on prices,” Chicago Fed President Austin Goolsbee told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday during a conference hosted by the European Central Bank in Sintra, Portugal.

“The unemployment rate is still very low, but it is rising,” he said.

In May, the US unemployment rate rose to 4%, a rate not seen since January 2022. However, job growth remained strong in May, with an estimated net gain of 272,000 jobs.

Economists largely expect the pace of job gains to moderate in June. As of Tuesday, the consensus estimate from FactSet was for a net gain of 189,000 jobs.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits (which serve as a proxy for layoffs) have risen in recent weeks, matching pre-pandemic averages.

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“Unemployment rates are still low, historically, but they are high between May and June, so we think we may see some slowdown in job growth during the month,” Marissa Di Natale, chief labor economist at Moody’s Analytics, told CNN in an interview.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release its latest jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET on Friday.

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