U.S. job va­can­cies hit record high in July

The Washington Post - - ECONOMY & BUSINESS -

U.S. job open­ings rose to a record high in July, sug­gest­ing that a slow­ing of job growth in Au­gust was an aber­ra­tion and that the la­bor mar­ket was strong be­fore the re­cent dis­rup­tive hur­ri­canes.

The monthly Job Open­ings and La­bor Turnover Sur­vey, or Jolts, re­leased by the La­bor Depart­ment on Tues­day showed that the la­bor mar­ket con­tin­ued to tighten amid a scarcity of work­ers.

The strong la­bor mar­ket fun­da­men­tals could en­cour­age the Fed­eral Re­serve to con­tinue tight­en­ing mon­e­tary pol­icy this year even though in­fla­tion is per­sis­tently run­ning be­low the U.S. cen­tral bank’s tar­get of 2 per­cent.

Job open­ings, a mea­sure of la­bor de­mand, in­creased by 54,000 to a sea­son­ally ad­justed 6.2 mil­lion. That was the high­est level since the data se­ries started in De­cem­ber 2000. Job open­ings have been above 6 mil­lion for two con­sec­u­tive months.

Hir­ing in­creased by 69,000 to 5.5 mil­lion in July, lift­ing the hir­ing rate to a near 11/2-year high of 3.8 per­cent from 3.7 per­cent in June.

La­bor mar­ket tight­ness was also un­der­scored by an­other re­port from the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pen­dent Busi­ness.

The NFIB sur­vey showed that a record share of small busi­nesses in Au­gust ranked dif­fi­cul­ties find­ing qual­i­fied work­ers as “their top busi­ness prob­lem.” The in­crease in job va­can­cies in July bol­sters views that Au­gust’s mod­er­a­tion in job gains was largely re­lated to a sea­sonal quirk.

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