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July 9, 2019 1:30 PM, EDT

Job Openings in May Ease for Second Month

Jobs Tim Boyle/Getty Images

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Job openings unexpectedly cooled in May for a second month, signaling a pause in demand for workers ahead of a surge in June payrolls growth that indicates a still-robust American labor market.

The number of positions waiting to be filled was little changed in May at 7.32 million after a revised 7.37 million a month earlier, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, released July 9. The quits rate held at 2.3% for an 11th straight month in May, matching the highest since 2005 and suggesting workers are confident about their ability to find a job.

Total vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by 1.44 million.

Labor Department figures released last week show U.S. employers added 224,000 jobs in June, rebounding from May’s 72,000 gain.

While May job openings cooled, the positive June hiring report shows the economy may not be slowing as much as previous data suggest and reduces pressure for a Federal Reserve rate cut at the July meeting. The number of people quitting was little changed at 3.4 million, with quits in the private sector falling 117,000 and those in government rising 25,000.