U.S. job openings increased in June and layoffs dropped to their lowest in nearly two years as labor market conditions tightened further, according a government report on Wednesday.
The Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report also suggested a growing skill shortage, which has been highlighted by independent surveys.
“This report continues to point to a tight labor market. It is clear that demand for labor is not the problem and there is nothing monetary policy can do to address a mismatch between the needs of employers and the skills of job seekers,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose 110,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.6 million, the JOLTS report showed. That raised the jobs openings rate one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent.
The JOLTS report is one of the job market metrics on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s so-called dashboard. Fed officials view the labor market as being at or near full employment.
Concerns about persistently low inflation and an uncertain global economic outlook have left the U.S. central bank cautious about raising interest rates in the near term.
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