The numbers: The number of job openings rose to a record 10.1 million in June from a revised 9.5 million in the prior month, the Labor Department said Monday. That’s the fourth straight all-time monthly high.

Economists surveyed by Econoday expected job openings to rise to 9.29 million in June.

What happened: Hiring increased more than job openings for the first time in six months.

Job hires rose by 697,000 to 6.7 million. Separations rose by 254,000 to 5.6 million.

The quits rate increased to 2.7% in June from 2.5% in the prior month.

Big picture: The labor market is firming and businesses continue to seek workers. On Friday, the government reported a solid employment report for July with 943,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs created and the unemployment rate dropping sharply to 5.4%. The job-openings report is released with a one-month lag.

Many economists think the labor market data will allow the Federal Reserve to start tapering its bond purchases in November.

What are they saying: “This report might offer the first sign that headwinds like generous unemployment benefits and childcare issues for parents might finally be abating,” said T.J. Connelly, head of research at Contingent Macro, referring to the fact that hiring outpaced openings for the first time in six months.

“The reopening of the broader economy has resulted in unprecedented levels of demand for workers. Job seekers, but jobless and employed, are taking advantage of this situation with job switching near historic levels and nominal wages growing quickly. The question now is by how much and how quickly will this situation fade,” said Nick Bunker, director of research at Indeed Hiring Lab said

Market reaction: Stocks
SPX,
-0.16%

DJIA,
-0.29%

opened lower on Monday on worries about the delta coronavirus variant.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
1.302%

rose above 1.3% after the data was released.

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