Washington August 30 2023: U.S. job openings dropped to the lowest level in nearly 2-1/2 years in July as the labor market gradually slows, bolstering expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates unchanged next month.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, from the Labor Department on Tuesday also showed the number of people quitting their jobs dropping to levels last seen in early 2021, indicating Americans were becoming less confident in the labor market.
That was reinforced by a survey from the Conference Board showing consumers' perceptions of the labor market cooling in August. Nevertheless, labor market conditions remain tight, with 1.5 job openings for every unemployed person in July. Layoffs remain very low by historical standards.
"Although the labor market is still tight, the degree of excess demand is declining and is coming about through companies reducing the number of vacancies rather than increasing layoffs and unemployment," said Conrad DeQuadros, senior economic advisor at Brean Capital in New York. "There is plenty here to make the case that not only is the labor market rebalancing but at this point it is doing so without pushing up unemployment."