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US Job Openings Slip, but Demand Remains Strong

Some signs are indicating that the U.S. economy is starting to cool off, though only slightly. Job openings fell for the second-consecutive month in May to 11.3 million, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, demand for workers is still strong.

"There are nearly two job openings for every unemployed person, a sharp reversal from the historic pattern: Before the pandemic, there were always more unemployed people than available jobs," reads an article from the Associated Press. "The figures reflect the unusual nature of the post-pandemic economy: Inflation is hammering household budgets, forcing consumers to pull back on spending, and growth is weakening, heightening fears the economy could fall into recession. Yet companies are still scrambling to add workers."

The number of people quitting jobs also fell in May to 4.3 million, but remains historically high. This trend has driven wage inflation as employers compete to hire from a limited candidate pool. "The U.S. labor market is the economy's biggest bulwark against recession," reads an article from MarketWatch. "As long as people are working and feel secure in their jobs, they are likely to keep spending and help the economy expand."

"This is not what a recession looks like," Nick Bunker, director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab told the news outlet. The May job openings data "obviously lags what's happening in the labor market presently, but all signs are that it remains strong. … There will be a time when the US labor market takes a downturn, jobs are shed at a higher rate and workers stop quitting their jobs, but that time has yet to come." 

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Monday, 15 August 2022