Job vacancies, quits plunge in July in stark sign of cooling trend in the US job market
Aug 29, 2023, 7:24 AM
WASHINGTON (AP) — Businesses posted far fewer open jobs in July and the number of Americans quitting their jobs fell sharply for the second straight month, clear signs that the labor market is cooling in a way that could reduce inflation.
The number of job vacancies dropped to 8.8 million last month, the Labor Department said Tuesday, the fewest since February 2021 and down from 9.2 million in June. Yet the drop appeared to be even steeper because June’s figure was initially reported as 9.6 million. That figure was revised lower Tuesday.
July’s figures was still healthy historically — before the pandemic the number of openings had never topped 8 million. And there are still roughly 1.5 available jobs for each unemployed worker, which is also elevated but down from a peak last year of 1.9.
Fewer Americans also quit, with 3.5 million people leaving their jobs last month, down from 3.8 million in June. Most Americans quit work for other, better-paying jobs, and during and after the pandemic there was a big spike in quitting as workers sought higher pay elsewhere.
The Federal Reserve will likely welcome Tuesday’s data, because fewer job openings and less quitting reduces pressure on employers to raise pay to find and keep workers. While pay raises are great for employees, they can also lead companies to increases prices to offset the higher labor costs, which can push up inflation.