Net employment holds steady in September as job openings drop

Net employment holds steady in September as job openings drop
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The number of U.S. job openings dropped slightly in September while net employment remained largely unchanged, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

There were 7 million unfilled jobs on the last business day of September, according to BLS, 277,000 fewer openings than the last business day of August. The U.S. added roughly 180,000 jobs in September, according to revised figures released by BLS last week.

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The unemployment rate also dropped to 3.5 percent in September, a 50-year low, though net employment stayed roughly the same since August. In both months, roughly 5.9 million people took new jobs, while 5.8 million left their current jobs.

Net employment — or the difference between hires and separations — has increased by 2.5 million people in 2019. Economists estimate that the U.S. must add roughly 100,000 jobs each month to maintain the unemployment rate close to its current level of 3.6 percent.

The percentage of workers who voluntarily left their jobs, known as the quit rate, stayed even at 2.3 percent. An increasing quit rate reflects growing confidence among workers that the economy will continue to provide more attractive and lucrative job opportunities. 

The percentage of workers who left their jobs due to layoffs or other nonvoluntary reasons also remained unchanged in September.

While employment gains and economic growth have slowed considerably from 2018, steep declines in business investment, manufacturing and exports stemming from President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE’s trade policy have not dented the solid job market.

The resilience of the U.S. labor market has helped shield Trump from the economic blowback of his protectionist trade policies and dimming global outlook ahead of a difficult bid for reelection.