Employers are beginning to hire at a more sustainable pace, as job openings ease slightly from record highs. The labor market has been tightening due to the economic recovery, but firms will continue to report large numbers of unfilled positions in coming months.
After reaching a record high late last year, available jobs declined marginally in February, indicating that firms are able to fill unfilled positions as the epidemic eases.
As the number of new coronavirus cases continues to decline, job opportunities are shrinking, possibly allowing more individuals to return to work. According to analysts, rising prices and economic instability surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are also motivating individuals to return to work.
The Labor Department said on Tuesday that there were 11.3 million seasonally adjusted job postings in February, down slightly from the previous month’s figure and somewhat below December’s 11.4 million high. The number of people quitting their positions grew slightly to 4.4 million, but remained below November’s record high, while hiring increased marginally.
According to Indeed, separate private-sector estimates indicated companies have 11.2 million job opportunities on March 18. Indeed has seen a plateau in the number of job ads in the United States since the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, according to the Labor Department, this much outnumbers the 6.3 million Americans who were jobless but looking for work in February.
The job-openings data “indicates that, although the labor market in the United States remains hot, the temperature may be cooling.” According to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed, “demand for labor has leveled off, and the pace at which people leave their positions is no longer growing.”
Mr. Bunker said that although the number of job opportunities in areas like as leisure and hospitality remain high as people get more comfortable going to bars and restaurants, the rate of employment growth is slowing due to vaccines.
The monthly employment report provides crucial indications regarding the labor market and the economy as a whole, but it does not provide a complete picture. The Wall Street Journal explains how to read the study, what it contains, and what it does not. Liz Ornitz is the illustrator behind this image.
According to Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at forecasting company Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., hiring may get simpler this year as more individuals seek work.
“A lot of government assistance that was assisting individuals has ended—the government cheese is no longer arriving.” Mr. Shapiro said, “They’ll have to work in order to sustain themselves.” “And now that the kids are back in school, parents no longer have to worry about what to do with their children.”
According to Census surveys, almost 2.8 million individuals were not working in early March because they had or were caring for someone with Covid-19, down from 7.8 million in late January and early February. Also, the number of persons who were unable to work because they were terrified of being ill decreased from 3 million to 2.3 million.
The Labor Department’s March employment report will be released later this week, and it will include further data on hiring and pay growth, both of which are projected to have stayed solid. According to economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, businesses created 490,000 new positions in March, down from 678,000 in February. They anticipate a 0.4 percent increase in average hourly wages over the previous month, when wage growth was practically steady.
The job market in the United States is nevertheless beset by rising inflation, which reached 7.9% year over year in February, the highest level in 40 years.
“Everyone is talking about how high inflation is. Employee demand for bigger salary rises may grow as a result of what they see at the petrol pump and in food shops, according to Patricia Buckley, managing director for economics at professional services firm Deloitte.
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While consumers’ inflation expectations might influence salaries, rising inflation can reduce demand for some products and services, thus lowering certain companies’ desire for labor, according to Ms. Buckley.
Because of rising prices and the war in Ukraine, consumers became more pessimistic about their future expectations in March, according to the Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index, which measures sentiment about a variety of factors including the labor market. However, strong employment growth helped boost overall consumer confidence.
Michelle Pusateri, the owner of Nana Joes Granola, a granola business in San Francisco, said she has sought to discover methods to fulfill customer demand without having to hire additional people in order to save expenses.
“We’ve been looking at enhancing savings via automation,” Ms. Pusateri added, mentioning the packing process as one area of attention.
Bryan Mena can be reached at [email protected]
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