The number of job openings in the U.S. economy jumped to more than 10 million in June, the highest on record, as the U.S. labor market continues a choppy recovery from last year’s economic shutdowns, the Labor Department said Monday.
There were 10.1 million open jobs on the final day of June, the report said, up from 9.2 million in May. Economist polled by Dow Jones were expecting 9.1 million openings. The jump came as the quits rate increased while the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged, reflecting increased bargaining power and employment options for workers.
By industry, leisure and hospitality show one of the highest level of job openings at more than 1.6 million. Health care and social assistance has 1.5 million openings.
“Labor demand keeps getting stronger. This is the third straight month of record-breaking job openings,” Indeed Hiring Lab director of research Nick Bunker said in a note. “The quits rate is also close to its all-time high, which was set just two months ago in April. This wave of demand will eventually recede, but job seekers should ride it until then.”
Despite the unemployment rate remaining above 5% and the U.S. economy being millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, many businesses have reported difficulty finding workers. Nominal wage gains, especially among non-management employees, also points to a tighter labor market.
The job openings survey was conducted before the July jobs report released last week which showed the economy adding 954,000 jobs. Hiring has accelerated during the summer after some disappointing results earlier in the year.
The Labor Department said in Friday’s jobs report there were 8.7 million Americans looking for work, meaning there were more open jobs than potential workers. To be sure, improving economies and tight labor markets can bring workers off of the sidelines and back into the labor force.
The high level of job openings comes even as some states have ended the extra unemployment benefits that were created during the pandemic in an effort to motivate Americans to return to work. The extra benefits are set to expire for the rest of the country next month.