Job Openings Remain Just off Record Pace

Oct. 11, 2017

U.S. job openings are down slightly after hitting a record pace in July. There were nearly 6.1 million openings in August, according to today’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hires remained well behind openings, setting up one of the widest opening-hiring gaps on record, said Econoday. “This separation indicates that employers are having a hard time filling slots.” Even with the minor dip in openings, the job opening rate stayed at a record high of 4% in August. Total separations including quits and layoffs and discharges were little changed from July to August.

Construction job openings increased by 10,000 to 247,000 in August. Construction hires saw a large increase as well—33,000 and 387,000, respectively. Total separations in the industry declined by almost 20,000 on a month-to-month basis.

Construction saw a rate increase from 3.3% to 3.5% in job openings. The rate represents the number of openings as a percent of total employment plus job openings. The rate is at its highest in more than 10 years. The construction hires rate increased by half a percent in August to 5.6%. This represents hires as a percent of total employment. The total separations rate in construction dipped two-tenths of a percent.

“The elevated level of job openings at the end of August underscores that the September drop in payrolls was the result of the recent hurricanes and that demand for labor is holding up,” said Wells Fargo Securities.

– Michael Miller, editorial associate

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