US Job Openings Fall Below 10 Million for First Time Since 2021

In February, job vacancies in the US dropped to their lowest point since May 2021, revealing a slowdown in labor demand in certain industries.

This trend continues to reflect a labor market that is resource-strapped, which creates complications for the Federal Reserve. The Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) reported that available positions fell to 9.9 million, down from 10.6 million, further underscoring disagreements among the Bloomberg economist community. Though the progression in the service sector is necessary, the figures indicate that supply and demand disparities in labor has improved.

As the Fed works to bring inflation down to its 2% target, the climate of a robust job market remains a formidable obstacle. The JOLTS disclosed that the quit rate, which calculates voluntary job quitters as a percentage of total employment, increased to 2.6%, or roughly 4 million Americans. Quits surged in accommodation and food services, business services, and wholesale trade. In November 2021, the ratio of openings to jobless individuals slumped to 1.67, the lowest point since 2021. Before the pandemic, that ratio was approximately 1.2 in a strong labor market.