US JOLTS Data Highlight Falling Labor Market Slack

A June surge in US job openings to a record indicates demand for workers remained strong at the end of the second quarter, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday.

The gain in job openings underscores the need for workers in an economy that’s continuing to expand. At the same time, the pool of qualified Americans is shrinking and making some positions tougher to fill, one reason economists expect the monthly pace of hiring will eventually cool. July figuresreleased last week showed payrolls increased more than forecast while the unemployment rate matched a 16-year low, as Americans came off the sidelines to join the labor force and many found work.

The JOLTS report also showed fewer people quitting their jobs, considered a gauge of workers’ willingness to voluntarily leave because they’re confident of finding a better job. That indicates faster wage growth, which has remained elusive in recent years, may still take time to materialize. The quits rate, which remains near its post-recession high, is among indicators of labor-market slack that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen monitors.

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.