U.S. job vacancies hit record high in July
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.