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Job Openings Continued Slide in April

Openings fall to three-year low

A small business owner, putting up a help wanted sign in her store window.

Job openings fell by nearly 300,000 in April, to 8 million, continuing a downward trend, according to the monthly JOLTS report released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The general decline in job openings follows the trend of falling online job postings across the U.S., evidence of a cooling jobs market. Following the 9.3 million openings in September 2023, job openings have remained below 9 million for six consecutive months.

The number of people quitting—a measure of worker confidence in the ability to leave one job for another—rose slightly to 3.5 million, showing that workers are not as confident in their ability to find new jobs. Layoffs in April fell by 86,000 to 1.5 million, which is consistent with the low levels of weekly unemployment claims data.

On Friday, the Department of Labor will report on how many jobs the U.S. economy added in May, the unemployment rate and wage gains for the month.

Takeaway for employers: There’s growing evidence of stabilization in the labor market following a period of sustained and unprecedented upheaval, said Justin Ladner, senior labor economist at SHRM. “For example, quits had been falling steadily from historic highs since Spring 2022, but over the last six months or so quit levels and rates have been more or less flat. Other measures are showing similar signs of stabilization. Should these patterns hold, it would appear that the labor market is moving toward a stable equilibrium characterized by strong labor demand and healthy turnover rates. The market is still tight by historical standards, but we are increasingly far removed from the unprecedented conditions of recent years,” Ladner said.


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