U.S. job open­ings fall in May, but em­ploy­ers in­crease hir­ing

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Josh Boak

WASHINGTON» U.S. em­ploy­ers posted fewer job open­ings in May. But hir­ing picked up and more peo­ple are quit­ting their jobs — pos­i­tive signs for the econ­omy.

Job open­ings fell 5 per­cent in May to 5.7 mil­lion, the La­bor De­part­ment said Tues­day. The set­back oc­curred af­ter ad­ver­tised job post­ings nearly reached 6 mil­lion in April, a fig­ure that has been re­vised down­ward from the ini­tial re­port. Mean­while, hir­ing climbed 8.5 per­cent to just un­der 5.5 mil­lion.

The data is a sign the econ­omy at 4.4 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment is near­ing “full em­ploy­ment,” when nearly all those who want a job have one and the un­em­ploy­ment rate mostly re­flects the nor­mal churn of peo­ple who are tem­po­rar­ily out of work. Typ­i­cally, when un­em­ploy­ment falls that low, com­pa­nies are forced to of­fer more pay, but that hasn’t yet hap­pened.

Jed Kolko, an econ­o­mist at the jobs site In­deed, said the re­port “shows what work­ers do in a tight la­bor mar­ket” in which there are more quits than lay­offs and fewer un­em­ployed work­ers for job each open­ing. The num­ber of peo­ple quit­ting their jobs has in­creased 7.1 per­cent to 3.2 mil­lion. But even then, Kolko said that the level of churn re­flected by peo­ple get­ting hired or leav­ing their jobs has been lower than it was in the early 2000s, which is con­sis­tent with the rel­a­tively slow wage gains.

May job open­ings fell by a mean­ing­ful amount in con­struc­tion and trans­porta­tion, ware­hous­ing and util­i­ties. Hir­ing was most ro­bust in the pro­fes­sional and busi­ness ser­vices sec­tor, as well as ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices.

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