The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released its September Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. The month’s reported number of job openings increased by 437,000 to 10.7 million, surpassing what economists had forecasted. The September report follows several months of record-high job openings and quit rates.
September’s increase in more than 400,000 job openings follows the steep drop-off reported in August when openings plunged by almost 1 million. Job openings had not exceeded 8 million in a month prior to last year; however, since Dec. 2021, job openings exceeded 11 million every month until August.
The job openings rate increased from 6.3% in August to 6.5% in September, which is 0.8 percentage points below the peak reported in March. Notably, the largest increase in job openings was in the accommodation and food services industry, where employment remains below pre-pandemic levels. Other industries—including health care, social assistance and transportation, warehousing and utilities—also reported increases in job openings, whereas the wholesale trade, finance and insurance industries reported a decrease.
In addition to the continued high number of job openings, total employee quits fell from 4.2 million in August to 4.1 million at the end of September. The employee quit rate is viewed by economists and policymakers as a measure of job market confidence. Despite the slight decrease in total employee quits, the September report reveals that the employee quit rate held at 2.7% for the third consecutive month.
Other key takeaways from the report include a slight drop in the hiring rate despite the number of hires decreasing from 6.3 million in August to 6.1 million in September. Additionally, the number of layoffs dropped 162,000 to 1.3 million, the largest monthly decrease since January 2021. This confirms that employers are not parting with their workers.
The unexpected rise in job openings suggests that the demand for labor remains strong. With so many job openings at the end of September, wage growth for U.S. workers could remain high as employees continue to leave their jobs voluntarily in high numbers. Additionally, the drop in layoffs indicates employers are holding on to their workers.
September’s report suggests that workers still feel confident enough to switch jobs for better pay or working conditions due to the high number of job openings despite economic pressures like inflation. As a result, employers continue to struggle attracting and retaining workers. This has resulted in increased labor costs for employers as they raise wages and offer competitive benefits and other perks to attract talent. As such, employers should continue to monitor employment trends to stay informed on the evolving market to stay competitive.
Contact Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors for more resources.
The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It should not be regarded as legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.