Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

U.S. job openings, hiring point to sluggish labor market recovery

Economic IndicatorsNov 10, 2020 03:25PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Fort Smith

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job openings increased less than expected in September while hiring fell, suggesting the labor market recovery was petering out even before a resurgence in new COVID-19 cases which is expected to slow momentum.

Though the Labor Department's monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report on Tuesday showed layoffs decreasing to their lowest level in nearly 20 years, there was more than one person competing for a single vacancy. The drop is at odds with significantly high weekly unemployment claims.

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, marked by tens of millions of Americans on unemployment benefits, is one of the biggest challenges confronting President-elect Joe Biden when he takes over from President Trump next January.

"It's hard to see any signs of backsliding, but there aren't any signs of acceleration in the recovery either," said Nick Bunker, director of research at Indeed Hiring Lab. "In a labor market with 10 million fewer jobs than February, we need to see hiring moving at a faster clip to avoid lasting damage."

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, were up 84,000 to 6.4 million on the last day of September. Vacancies remained below their 7 million level in February.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast job openings rising to 6.5 million in September.

Stocks on Wall Street were trading mostly lower. The dollar was steady against a basket of currencies. U.S. Treasuries fell.

The United States is setting daily records for coronavirus cases, which could force state and local governments to impose new restrictions on businesses like restaurants, bars and gyms.

Even without restrictions, consumers fearing exposure to the respiratory illness are likely to stay away, which would hurt demand and hiring. At the same time, economic growth is slowing after a massive boost from fiscal stimulus, which has run out. The economy plunged into recession in February.

There were increases in job openings in financial activities, professional and business services, health care and social assistance, and leisure and hospitality industries. Federal government job openings decreased 20,000.

The job openings rate was unchanged at 4.3% in September.

"The virus count is hitting records however so it is questionable, given the new mini-lockdowns in many states, whether as many jobs will be required in the future at bars and restaurants, sporting events, museums and amusement parks," said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.

STIFF COMPETITION FOR JOBS

Hiring declined 81,000 to 5.9 million, led by a 256,000 decrease in federal government as the 2020 Census winds down. Hiring also fell in retail trade and educational services. The hires rate dipped to 4.1% from 4.2% in August.

The JOLTS report followed on the heels of news last Friday that the economy created 638,000 jobs in October, the smallest gain since the jobs recovery started in May. Employment remains 10.1 million jobs below its peak in February. Millions of people are experiencing long periods of unemployment.

The JOLTS report showed layoffs fell 200,000 to 1.3 million, the lowest level since December 2000. There were decreases in layoffs in the construction and wholesale trade industries.

Despite the ebb in layoffs, the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits has remained above its 665,000 peak during the 2007-09 Great Recession. At least 21.5 million people were receiving unemployment benefits in mid-October.

The layoffs rate fell to 0.9% from 1.1% in August. Even as layoffs moderated in September, job prospects for the 11.8 million estimated to be unemployed in September were rather bleak with only 6.4 million jobs available.

"For every 18 workers who were officially counted as unemployed, there were only available jobs for 10 of them," said

Elise Gould, a senior economist at Economic Policy Institute in Washington. "That means, no matter what they did, there were no jobs for 5.4 million unemployed workers. And this misses the fact that many more  weren't counted among the unemployed."

The number of people voluntarily quitting their jobs increased 179,000 to 3.0 million. More people quit their jobs in construction, arts, entertainment and recreation as well as in other services.

The quits rate increased to 2.1% from 2.0% in August. The quits rate is viewed by policymakers and economists as a measure of job market confidence, but it has been distorted during this recession by people quitting to look after children or fearful of contracting COVID-19.

The labor participation rate for women fell in April to levels last seen in the late 1980s and remains well below levels seen at the start of the year.

U.S. job openings, hiring point to sluggish labor market recovery
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (2)
Musical Critic
Musical Critic Nov 10, 2020 2:05PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
October and entire winter will be much worse.. Let's pray it doesn't take yoo many lives...
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Nov 10, 2020 10:38AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
September? who cares about september if the second wave started at the end of october?
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email