American Job Surge Slows Down

American Job Openings Slows Down | Mr. Business Magazine


After a record-breaking surge, America’s labor market has shifted to a more typical pattern, with steady job postings at 8.8 million in November, signaling a cooldown. Hiring dipped to 5.5 million, 363,000 fewer than October, while quits dropped to 3.5 million. Many indicators have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with hiring below December 2019 figures. Despite this normalization, job openings remain above pre-pandemic levels but have decreased from the peak of 12 million in March 2022. With 1.4 job openings per worker, the market is cooling without causing alarm for inflation. The job market’s shift is viewed as a positive development, avoiding extremes and aiming for a stable era. In November, US job openings fell to 8.79 million, aligning with expectations. The labor market’s steady cooldown is evident, especially in infrastructure, federal government, and leisure and hospitality sectors, while wholesale trade experienced an increase. Hires declined to 5.47 million, the lowest since April 2020, indicating a cooling trend. Layoffs and quits both decreased in November. The latest JOLTS report suggests a soft landing, easing concerns of a sharp economic decline. Although favorable for workers and the economy, the report may impact the Federal Reserve’s rate-cutting plans in 2024, as aggressive cuts could risk reigniting inflationary pressures. 

The November figures from the Labor Department revealed a further decline in job openings, reaching their lowest level since March 2021 at 8.79 million. This decrease aligns with a broader trend of the job market’s gradual cooldown. The Federal Reserve’s focus on maintaining economic stability is evident, with officials suggesting a potential need for further economic slowdown to ensure inflation aligns with the central bank’s 2% target.

Shifts in Job Openings:

Sector-wise, there were notable shifts in job openings in November. Infrastructure and federal government job openings saw significant drops by 128,000 and 58,000, respectively. Additionally, the leisure and hospitality sector witnessed a substantial decline of 97,000 openings. On the flip side, wholesale trade experienced a surge with an increase of 63,000 job openings, showcasing the dynamic nature of the labor market adjustments. 

Furthermore, the current economic landscape, marked by the lowest job openings since March 2021, is closely tied to interest rates remaining at a 22-year high. The Federal Reserve’s commitment to a soft landing strategy is reinforced by the JOLTS report, which provides valuable insights into the ongoing economic adjustments.

While the report doesn’t sound alarm bells for an impending economic downturn, it underscores the need for a nuanced approach to monetary policy. 

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