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US job openings edged down in July for second consecutive month; quits hit series high

September 11, 2019

Job openings were little changed in July from June, according to seasonally adjusted data released Tuesday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the number of hires edged up and separations increased.

Job openings edged down by 31,000 in July to about 7.2 million, down 0.4% from June; the decrease was 3.0% on a year-over-year basis.

Job openings in July decreased by 55,000 in wholesale trade and 11,000 in federal government. On the flip side, job openings increased by 42,000 in information and by 11,000 in mining and logging.

Reuters reported US job openings fell for a second straight month in July.

“Last week’s jobs report sparked a debate over whether the slowdown in hiring is due to an economy hitting full employment, but today’s JOLTS report indicates that this is actually a labor market that is losing momentum,” Nick Bunker, economist at Indeed Hiring Lab in Washington, told Reuters.

The job openings rate — a measure of job openings compared with total employment — was 4.5%, down from 4.8% in July 2018.

The number of quits in July edged up to a series high of 3.6 million. The quits rate, part of total separations, was 2.4%. Quits increased by 54,000 in healthcare and social assistance and by 3,000 in federal government. Quits are voluntary separations initiated by employees and can serve as a measure of employees’ willingness or ability to leave jobs.

Click on chart to enlarge.

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics; bps=basis points

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