Job openings in the United States hit a new record high in July, according to the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (the JOLTS report). The JOLTS report also reveals that there are more workers voluntarily quitting their jobs, which helps with the overall confidence in the labor market. People quitting their jobs believe that there will be another job to get, therefore they are more willing to quit.
This latest Labor Department report comes amid a huge labor shortage gripping the entire nation. For months now, businesses around the United States have struggled to hire new workers. According to the JOLTS report, job openings rose to 10.9 million in July, the highest amount of open jobs since this analysis began in December 2000. From June, jobs rose 749,000. The report also reveals that this is the fifth straight month where job openings have hit a new record high.
Currently, the job market is very tight, as many companies are struggling to find the right workers for their job openings. In August, hirings slowed down immensely, possibly because of Delta variant concerns. The Delta variant of COVID-19, a more contagious variant, has caused cases to surge in various areas around the United States. This has affected consumer confidence in the economy, as well as the labor market. Therefore, there are many people who have concerns about working during an infectious pandemic, or who are being kept from returning to the workforce during a pandemic for various reasons.
While unemployment has not risen too much in the last few months, there have been weeks where jobless claims have unexpectedly risen. However, in the past few weeks, there haven’t been as many layoffs, when compared to earlier this year and in 2020.
However, not enough workers are reentering the workforce to help meet consumer demand. Job openings are at an all-time high, according to the Labor Department. As the holiday season slowly begins later this year, many companies are going to need a lot of extra help to meet the expected consumer demand. Already, businesses around the nation, such as Walmart and Dollar General, have announced plans to hire thousands of new workers, both in stores and at distribution plants.
Many economists do anticipate that more people will return to the workforce once all students return to school. While many have already returned to school in August, some school districts and colleges didn’t start their fall terms until September. It is expected that more people will return to the workforce after this, as many will no longer have to worry about childcare with school in session, a huge reason why many have not returned to the workforce. However, we may not see the data of this until the end of September at the earliest, or until October.
This JOLTS report, therefore, confirms that hiring has slowed across the country because businesses are unable to find workers, rather than there being a weak demand for labor around the country. According to the report, there has been an increase in job openings in the healthcare and social assistance industries, as well as accommodation and food service industries.