Job Openings Dipped in May, a Sign of Continued Cooling

The Labor Department reported on Thursday that job openings fell in May while turnover rose.

The newspaper reported 9.8 million job openings in May, down from 10.3 million in April. Job offer/turnover rate survey, known as Jolts. The report shows that the labor market maintains ample opportunities for workers but is losing momentum.

Turnover, a commonly used measure of worker confidence in the job market, rose in May, especially in the health care, social assistance and construction industries. The rise in retirees often indicates workers’ confidence that they can find other jobs that pay better. But fewer workers are quitting their jobs than last year, when the so-called “great resignation” peaked.

Layoffs have remained relatively stable after declining in the previous month, suggesting employers are reluctant to lay off workers.

Fed policymakers are concerned about the strength of the labor market as they continue to grapple with persistently high inflation.

The Fed chose to keep rates unchanged at its June meeting after raising rates 10 times in a row. The JOLTS report is one of several factors that will influence the Fed’s next interest rate decision.

Some economists fear the Fed will raise interest rates too high and trigger a recession.

The labor market, which has remained resilient as the Fed tries to slow the economy, has shown signs of cooling in recent months. The number of job openings fell for three months in a row until April.

initial Unemployment insurance applicationThe Labor Department also announced on Thursday that while the week ending July 1 was up slightly from the previous week, the four-week trend shows a decline in first-time claims.

The June jobs report, another indicator the Fed will be watching, comes out Friday from the Labor Department. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the report to see an increase of 225,000 from initial figures of 339,000 in May.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in May from 3.4% the previous month. While still at a historically low level, the rate was the highest since October and beat analyst expectations.

Fed policymakers will hold their next meeting on July 25-26.

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