WASHINGTON– US employers posted fewer job openings in June as the economy faces runaway inflation and rising interest rates.
Job postings fell to a still-high 10.7 million in June from 11.3 million in May, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Job postings, which never exceeded 8 million in a month before last year, had exceeded 11 million each month from December to May before plunging in June.
In its monthly job openings and turnover survey, the Labor Department said the number of Americans leaving jobs fell slightly but remained high at 4.2 million in June, while layoffs were fell to 1.3 million from 1.4 million in May.
The labor market has been resilient so far this year, and companies have complained about the difficulty in filling vacancies: employers have added an average of 457,000 jobs per month in 2022; and unemployment is near its lowest level in 50 years. It’s one of the reasons many economists believe the economy is not yet in recession, even though gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic output, has contracted for two quarters. consecutive – a rule of thumb for the onset of a downturn.
“If the economy is recovering, the labor market apparently hadn’t gotten the memo at the end of June,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities. “One could argue for a slight restraint from a state of blatant overheating, but that’s about all I’d go for in assessing labor market conditions.”
The Labor Department’s July jobs report, released on Friday, is expected to show employers added an additional 250,000 jobs last month, which would be a healthy number in normal times but would be the lowest since December 2020, when the global economy was devastated. by the pandemic. Economists also expect unemployment to remain at 3.6% for the fifth straight month, according to a survey by data firm FactSet.
The economy is under pressure as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight inflation that is unfolding at the fastest pace in four decades.