According to the latest data from the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, job openings in the United States surged in October. Job openings increased by 431,000 in October, hitting the 11 million mark. Meanwhile, hiring in the country decreased for the month, falling about 82,000 from the month before. Overall employee quits have also declined to 205,000. All of this new data now suggests that the worker shortage could be worsening, and the job market is tightening.
Both the number of people being laid off by employers and the number of people voluntarily quitting their jobs have fallen in the past month. However, the number of people quitting their jobs is still quite high. Since the pandemic began, the country has been faced with many people deciding to change their career paths — and thereby quitting their jobs voluntarily for something new — and many people deciding to retire. These decisions have only hindered the labor market somewhat, as more people are leaving the workforce than the number of people entering, or reentering, it.
The country has also been in a labor shortage because of the pandemic. Job openings have hit almost record highs because so many employers need more workers to help meet the constant high consumer demand. In 2020, employers laid off employees because of the pandemic, but by 2021 many businesses needed workers again as demand surged. However, workers haven’t reentered the workforce as anticipated.
On the last day of October, job openings increased by 431,000 to hit that 11 million mark, which is the second-highest increase currently on record. Much as previous months have seen, job openings are mainly in the food services industry, such as at restaurants. However, vacancies also increased in the educational and manufacturing industries.
Also according to this new JOLTS report, hiring has dropped in the past month, with a 96,000 drop in payrolls. However, the government also reported in November that nonfarm payrolls did increase by 210,000 jobs after these payrolls did rise in October. So, while it is clear that more people are attempting to be hired and join the workforce, it’s not hitting the high numbers that analysts anticipated it would. Plus, because job openings are surging and people are still quitting their jobs at high rates, the workforce is under strain and the labor market is still tightening.
Currently, overall employment is about 3.9 million jobs beneath what was recorded in February 2020, what was normal before the pandemic first started and changed everything.
While the amount of people quitting their jobs is still quite high, it has decreased somewhat in the past few weeks and months. Analysts normally don’t worry about the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs, as this normally signals that these workers have confidence in the job market and feel that they will soon have another job.
However, because of the pandemic and the growing problems in the labor market — such as the mass job openings — analysts are viewing this particular situation in a new light.