September 12, 2017 11:45 AM, EDT

Job Openings in US Increased to a Record in July

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U.S. job openings unexpectedly rose to a record in July, indicating resilient demand for workers, Labor Department figures showed Sept. 12.

Highlights of July Job Openings

• Number of positions rose by 54,000 to 6.17 million (estimated 6 million) from 6.12 million in June.

• Hiring increased to 5.5 million from 5.43 million.

• 3.16 million Americans quit their jobs, up from 3.13 million; quits rate rose to 2.2% from 2.1%.

• Layoffs declined to 1.78 million from 1.81 million.

Key Takeaways

A rising trend in available positions highlights robust labor conditions as steady sales and economic growth keep companies on the hunt.

A tighter job market has also placed a premium on skilled and experienced employees, helping explain why economists anticipate smaller monthly payrolls growth as those workers are on staff.

In August, the economy added fewer jobs than forecast while the unemployment rate crept up from a 16-year low.

The JOLTS report also showed more people quitting their jobs, considered a gauge of workers’ willingness to leave their place of employment because they’re confident of finding a better position. That indicates larger wage gains may soon start to materialize.

The quits rate, which matched its post-recession high, is among indicators of labor-market slack that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen monitors.

Other Details

• There were 1.1 unemployed people vying for every opening in June, down from 1.9 people when the recession began at the end of 2007.

• Openings increase in the construction, transportation and warehousing, and leisure and hospitality industries.

• In the 12 months through July, the economy created a net 2.1 million jobs, representing 63.6 million hires and 61.5 million separations.

• Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report — or JOLTS — adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.