Job open­ings surge to record high

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - By Christo­pher Ru­gaber

U.S. em­ploy­ers posted a record num­ber of open jobs in June, a sign that the solid hir­ing of re­cent months will likely con­tinue.

Job open­ings jumped 8 per­cent to 6.2 mil­lion, the high­est on records dat­ing back to 2000, the La­bor De­part­ment said Tues­day. Hir­ing fell, how­ever, and the num­ber of peo­ple quitting their jobs also dropped.

The data sug­gest that em­ploy­ers have plenty of jobs to fill but are strug­gling to find the qual­i­fied work­ers they need. Typ­i­cally, em­ploy­ers would of­fer higher pay to en­tice more ap­pli­cants, ac­cel­er­at­ing wage growth. But the gov­ern­ment’s jobs re­port for July, re­leased Fri­day, showed that pay gains haven’t picked up yet.

Job open­ings in con­struc­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing rose sharply. They also in­creased in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, health care, and in state and lo­cal gov­ern­ment. The num­ber of open jobs in re­tail fell.

The re­port comes af­ter the gov­ern­ment said Fri­day that em­ploy­ers added 209,000 jobs in July and re­vised its June fig­ure higher to 231,000. Fri­day’s fig­ures rep­re­sent a net total of jobs added mi­nus jobs lost, while Tues­day’s re­port in­cludes over­all hir­ing data.

Tues­day’s data come from the Job Open­ings and La­bor Turnover sur­vey, or JOLTS. They are more de­tailed and pro­vide a fuller view of the job mar­ket than the monthly jobs fig­ures.

The JOLTS sug­gests that the econ­omy is at or near “full em­ploy­ment,” when nearly ev­ery­one who wants a job has one and the un­em­ploy­ment rate mostly re­flects the tem­po­rary churn of job losses and gains.

If so, that has im­pli­ca­tions for the Fed­eral Re­serve: Busi­nesses would be forced to lift pay and po­ten­tially raise their prices to cover the cost of higher salaries if the econ­omy is at full em­ploy­ment.

That could spur in­fla­tion. Fed pol­i­cy­mak­ers have been hik­ing short-term in­ter­est rates partly be­cause they mostly think full-em­ploy­ment has been reached.

NATI HARNIK / AP

Omaha Pub­lic Schools Hu­man Re­sources In­for­ma­tion Sys­tems An­a­lyst Lori Sanders (left) as­sists Ch­eryl Bast (sec­ond from left) as she works on an ap­pli­ca­tion for a job with Omaha Pub­lic Schools dur­ing a job fair held at Omaha South High School.

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