United States job openings increased to the highest point it has ever been at during July, however, a lag in hiring indicated that employers were having a tough time finding employees suited for certain positions. The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, published by the Labor Department on Wednesday also suggested narrowing restrictions in the labor market, which could lead to a quicker wage growth. JOLTS is one of the job market metrics on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s dashboard. It was released before the United States central bank’s September 20-21 policy meeting where the Federal Reserve is likely going to keep interest rates where they are.
“There are millions of jobs going begging right now in what has got to be one of the biggest mismatches between skills and lack of qualified help available in the nation’s history,” Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York, said. “The economy seems strong enough to weather a rate hike.”
Job openings, which is a measure of labor demand, grew by 228,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.9 million, according to the Labor Department. That was the highest point it had reached since the start of the series nearly fifteen years ago. In addition, the jobs opening rate increased by a tenth of a percentage point to nearly four percent in July. Hiring did not change at 5.2 million in July, keeping the hiring rate still at 3.6 percent for a second consecutive month.
However, hiring decreased in August, with nonfarm payrolls growing by 151,000 jobs, a report indicated last week. The economy added a summation of 546,000 jobs during the months of June and July. Although Fed officials see the labor market as being at or close to full employment, concerns about consistently low inflation have left the United States central bank concerned about increasing interest rates in the near future.