In August, United States job openings dropped to eight-month low and hiring saw minimal changes, indicating some calming in labor market conditions in part as the economic recovery matures. In its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released on Wednesday the Labor Department commented job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell 388,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.4 million after jumping to a record high in July. That dragged down the jobs openings rate three-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6 percent. The amount of hires was little changed at 5.2 million in August, keeping the hiring rate stable at 3.6 percent.
“These data can be volatile and the openings rate is still fairly high, so it is too early to tell whether this is a signal or just the noise of volatile monthly data,” stated John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics.
“However, if this drop is sustained, it could be a sign of increased caution on the part of businesses.”
Job growth is decelerating, with nonfarm payrolls advancing 156,000 last months. Employment growth has so far this year averaged 178,000 jobs per month, declined from an median increase of 229,000 positions per month in 2015. With the majority of the labor market slack largely captivated and the economy’s recovery from the 2007-09-recession aging, the slowdown in payrolls growth is standard. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has reported the economy needs to create just under 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth.