What's happening with US job openings right now?

Job openings increased in the US in September, while unemployment fell by 250,000.
Job openings increased in the US in September, while unemployment fell by 250,000.
Image: Unsplash/Cytonn Photography
  • Job openings increased in the US in September, while unemployment fell by 250,000.
  • There is an ongoing imbalance between labour demand and supply, with more than 10.7 million jobs still available but only 5.7 million people unemployed.
  • Fed Chair Jerome Powell says the labour market needs to cool down to help relieve upward pressure on wages and cool inflation.

The number of job openings in the United States surprisingly crept back up in September, signaling that the labor market remains hotter than anticipated despite the Fed's aggressive efforts to cool it. At the same time, the number of unemployed persons decreased by a quarter of a million people, bringing it within a hair of its February 2020 (i.e. pre-Covid) low of 5.7 million.

With more than 10.7 million job openings and 5.7 million unemployed, there's almost 1.9 unfilled positions for every job seeker, indicating that the imbalance between labor demand and supply persists. The latest reading has once again reduced the chances of the Fed pivoting towards a less aggressive stance in face of inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has repeatedly stressed that the labor market needs to come off the boil to relieve upward pressure on wages and thus cool inflation, a goal that has proven elusive so far.

A graph showing the number of unemployed persons and job openings in the United States.
The number of unemployed persons and job openings in the United States.
Image: Statista.
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