Job openings hit 10.1 million in third straight record-breaking month

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Job openings rose to a record high in June for a third straight month as layoffs remained at historic lows, according to data released Monday by the Labor Department.

On the final business day of June, there were 10.1 million open jobs in the U.S. after 6.7 million hires that month. The quit rate — the ratio of voluntary departures to total employment in June — rose to a near-record 2.7 percent while the layoffs rate held at 0.9 percent.

The department’s latest job openings and labor turnover report shows how the reopening of the U.S. economy has spurred unprecedented demand for employees in a narrow window of time.

Workers who were forced out of the labor market during the onset of the pandemic are now returning to myriad job options, while those already employed are leaving their gigs at a record pace seeking new employment.

The rush to hire has also pushed wages higher after several years of meager growth, but higher inflation has wiped out much of the relative benefit at this point in the recovery.

“With 10.1 million job openings, employers’ demand for workers is incredibly strong. But at the same time, labor supply is, at least for now, not that abundant. The result is a labor market where there is roughly one unemployed worker per job opening,” wrote Nick Bunker, research director at Indeed Hiring Lab, in a Monday analysis.

“Whether this level of tightness will continue depends on whether demand can stay this high and how quickly workers will return to the labor force,” he added.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. added 938,000 jobs in June and 943,000 jobs the following month. Top economic advisers to President Biden argued that the recent data is proof that the administration’s economic agenda is fostering a strong recovery.

Republicans, however, give former President Trump the lion’s share of credit for the pace of recovery, which most economists attribute to a combination of unprecedented fiscal and monetary support and the swift deployment of highly effective vaccines in the U.S.

It also remains unclear how the emergence of the delta variant of COVID-19 will affect the recovery. While the vast majority of vaccinated individuals don’t experience serious symptoms if they contract the coronavirus, rising cases may dent consumer confidence and cause a spending retreat in certain areas.

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