Plenty of jobs in May, despite economic concerns : NPR

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Wednesday showing persistently high job openings.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images


The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data Wednesday showing persistently high job openings.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Workers seeking new jobs have plenty of choice, despite recent layoffs and hiring delays in key areas of the economy.

At the end of May, there were 11.3 million job openings, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

Redundancy rates are historically low. By contrast, the number of workers leaving their jobs remains near historic highs, despite a slight decline from their March peak. Because there are so many jobs available — nearly two for every unemployed person — employers are eager to keep workers they already have. Some have offered wage increases to attract or retain workers, especially as inflation drives prices up.

The figures for May represent a slight decrease compared to April. Goods manufacturing and professional services both saw the largest declines in job openings, but there were no dramatic changes in employers laying off workers or leaving jobs in those industries.

In total, 4.3 million people left their jobs in May and 6.5 million were hired.

However, there are fears that the good times are declining. Inflation is at its highest level since 1994. The Fed recently implemented its largest rate hike in nearly 30 years to counter it.

Some high-profile companies that boomed during the pandemic, including Peloton, Netflix and Coinbase, have announced layoffs or employee freezes. And rising interest rates could cause the job market to contract as employers lay off workers. But analysts emphasize that a decline in the overall labor market has not yet occurred, and May’s data confirms that.

“If the job market were to fall quickly and suddenly, we would see employers’ demand for new hires fall and their willingness to hire employees to increase. For now, we don’t see a sudden move in either direction,” Nick wrote. Bunker, research director of Indeed Hiring Lab. “Clouds may come quickly and obscure the outlook for the US job market, but for now the sun is still shining.”

The Department of Labor’s jobs report for June will be released Friday.

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