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    Job Openings Picked Up in July, Showing the Labor Market Remains Hot

    Demand for workers remained strong in July, a sign that the U.S. labor market remains vibrant even as the Federal Reserve tries to cool the economy by raising interest rates.Job openings ticked up to 11.2 million, the Labor Department reported on Tuesday as part of its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.The survey included a large upward revision for openings in June, to 11 million from an estimated 10.7 million. The figure reached a record of more than 11.8 million in March.Substantial aid during the pandemic’s ups-and-downs has kept businesses of all sizes afloat and household finances relatively healthy, resulting in robust demand for a broad variety of goods and services. But the labor force is still smaller than it was before the pandemic, forcing employers to scramble to hire.Openings outnumber unemployed workers by a ratio of two to one.The largest increases in openings were in transportation, warehousing and utilities jobs. In a sign of continued recovery, postings surged in the arts, entertainment and recreation industries, which have greatly benefited from the easing of Covid-19 concerns and restrictions.The State of Jobs in the United StatesEmployment gains in July, which far surpassed expectations, show that the labor market is not slowing despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy.July Jobs Report: U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs in the seventh month of the year. The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent in June.Black Employment: Black workers saw wages and employment rates go up in the wake of the pandemic. But as the Federal Reserve tries to tame inflation, those gains could be eroded.Slow Wage Growth: Pay has been rising rapidly for workers at the top and the bottom. But things haven’t been so positive for all professions, especially pharmacists.Care Worker Shortages: A lack of child care and elder care options is forcing some women to limit their hours or has sidelined them altogether, hurting their career prospects.Several prominent companies announced layoffs this summer. But both the overall rate and number of layoffs have been flat on a monthly basis, while the recently elevated rate of quitting declined only slightly in July, showing that workers remain able to leave jobs they find unsatisfying.There were some signs of weakness, however. The survey found that job openings decreased in durable-goods manufacturing by an estimated 47,000. Some economists say this is unsurprising after the intense consumer demand for goods at the beginning of the pandemic. But it may also be an early mark of tighter financial conditions as a result of the Fed’s bid to rein in price increases.Economists and bank analysts said the report made it likely that the Fed would remain aggressive in raising interest rates, as the central bank tries to weaken the labor market so that wage gains and consumer spending, which have slowed, will dip further in better alignment with the supply-constrained economy.“The job market remains surprisingly resilient to the Fed’s best efforts to cool it off,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The Fed desperately wants job growth to slow and unemployment to stabilize, even rise a bit, to quell wage and price pressures.”The Labor Department’s employment report for July was unexpectedly strong, showing a gain of 528,000. Mr. Zandi said the “red hot” JOLTS data would put even greater focus on the August hiring data, due Friday.The demand for labor is particularly remarkable because, based on inflation-adjusted gross domestic product, the economy contracted slightly in the first half of the year. Despite higher prices, the raw amount of goods and services being exchanged remains considerable, fueling demand for labor.“Millions of Americans still can find employment or even trade up to a higher-paying position,” said Robert Frick, an economist at Navy Federal Credit Union. “We may be seeing a second wind for economic growth after high inflation and slowing job growth in the spring.”Some commentators say the data on openings may be somewhat overstated because businesses have little incentive to take down listings, even if the urgency of hiring has waned.And there are signs that the tide may be shifting. A survey of more than 100 chief financial officers by Deloitte, a consulting and financial advisory firm, showed that nearly all of them expected decreases in revenue, hiring and overall expansion in the coming year.Their growth expectations for wages and staffing declined. They expect annual wage growth to be 4.8 percent and personnel growth to be 2.6 percent — both down from 5.3 percent in the previous quarterly survey. The Fed is also making a mark in corporate financing, which can affect hiring capacity or decisions: Roughly one in 10 chief financial officers at public companies viewed debt financing as attractive, down from nine in 10 a year ago.Still, executives remained relatively confident about the prospects for their own businesses, a disconnect that mirrors how consumers have maintained a gloomy economic outlook across the board while people in most income brackets continue to spend at heightened levels. More

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    With Surge in July, U.S. Recovers the Jobs Lost in the Pandemic

    U.S. job growth accelerated in July across nearly all industries, restoring nationwide employment to its prepandemic level, despite widespread expectations of a slowdown as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to fight inflation.Employers added 528,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said on Friday, more than doubling what forecasters had projected. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5 percent, equaling the figure in February 2020, which was a 50-year low.The robust job growth is welcome news for the Biden administration in a year when red-hot inflation and fears of recession have been recurring economic themes. “Today’s jobs report shows we are making significant progress for working families,” President Biden declared.The labor market’s continued strength is all the more striking as gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, has declined for two consecutive quarters and as consumer sentiment about the economy has fallen sharply — along with the president’s approval ratings.“I’ve never seen a disjunction between the data and the general vibe quite as large as I saw,” said Justin Wolfers, a University of Michigan economist, noting that employment growth is an economic North Star. “It is worth emphasizing that when you try to take the pulse of the overall economy, these data are much more reliable than G.D.P.”But the report could stiffen the Federal Reserve’s resolve to cool the economy. Wage growth sped up, to 5.2 percent over the past year, indicating that labor costs could add fuel to higher prices.The Fed has raised interest rates four times in its battle to curb the steepest inflation in four decades, and policymakers have signaled that more increases are in store. That strategy is likely to lead to a slowdown in hiring later in the year as companies cut payrolls to match expected lower demand.Already, surveys of restaurateurs, home builders and manufacturers have reflected concern that current spending will not continue. Initial claims for unemployment insurance have been creeping up, and job openings have fallen for three consecutive months.“At this stage, things are OK,” said James Knightley, the chief international economist at the bank ING. “Say, December or the early part of next year, that’s where we could see much softer numbers.”Payrolls have fully recovered the jobs lost in the pandemic.Cumulative change in jobs since before the pandemic More

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    U.S. jobs report shows a gain of 528,000 in July.

    U.S. employers added 528,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department said on Friday, again outstripping expectations for a labor market that is still rebounding from the pandemic but that has come under increasing pressure from inflation as well as from escalating interest rates meant to rein in prices.The impressive performance — which brings the total employment back to its level of February 2020, just before the pandemic lockdowns — indicates that a slowdown in some industries has not been enough to drag down overall hiring. And it provides new evidence that the United States has not entered a recession.But most forecasters expect that momentum to slow markedly later in the year, as companies cut payrolls to match lower demand.“At this stage, things are OK,” said James Knightley, the chief international economist at the bank ING. “Say, December or the early part of next year, that’s where we could see much softer numbers.”The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, down from 3.6 percent in June, matching its 50-year low on the eve of the pandemic.Last week, the government reported that the nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic output, had contracted for the second consecutive quarter when adjusted for inflation. The data showed a sharp decline in home building, a slackening of business investment and a sluggish rise in consumer spending.Those trends are bound to affect the labor market overall, even if not uniformly or immediately.Amy Glaser, a senior vice president at the global staffing agency Adecco, said her firm was still struggling to fill hourly jobs, especially in retail and logistics. Employers may not have made those positions attractive enough, and, increasingly, may do without them.“I think we do have a gap in the jobs that are available and the desire to do those jobs,” Ms. Glaser said. “We know there are tens of thousands of warehouse jobs out there, but standing on your feet for 10 hours a day isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.” More

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    U.S. Economy Added 372,000 Jobs in June, Defying Slowdown Fears

    The strong Labor Department report comes as consumers and businesses express increasing concern about a downturn.The U.S. economy powered through June with broad-based hiring on par with recent months, keeping the country clear of recession territory even as inflation eats into wages and interest rates continue to rise. Employers added 372,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday, and the unemployment rate, at 3.6 percent, was unchanged from May and near a 50-year low. Washington and Wall Street had keenly awaited the new data after a series of weaker economic indicators. The June job growth exceeded economists’ forecasts by roughly 100,000, offering some reassurance that a sharper downturn isn’t underway — at least not yet. But the strength of the report, which also showed bigger wage gains than expected, could give the Federal Reserve more leeway for tough medicine to beat back inflation. Now, all eyes will be watching whether the Fed’s strategy of raising interest rates pushes the country into a recession that inflicts harsh pain. Employment growth over the last three months averaged 375,000, a solid showing though a drop from a monthly pace of 539,000 in the first quarter of this year. Employers have continued to hang on to workers in recent months, with initial unemployment claims rising only slightly from their low point in March.The private sector has now regained its prepandemic employment level — an achievement trumpeted by the White House on Friday — though the level is still below what would have been expected absent the pandemic. Other than the public sector, no broad industry lost jobs in June, on a seasonally adjusted basis.“We’ve essentially ground our way back to where we were pre-Covid,” said Christian Lundblad, a professor of finance at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. “So, this doesn’t necessarily look like a dire situation, despite the fact that we’re struggling with inflation and economic declines in some other dimensions.”Strong demand for workers is also evident in the 11.3 million jobs that employers had open in May, a number that remains close to record highs and leaves nearly two jobs available for every person looking for work. In this equation, any workers laid off as certain sectors come under strain are more likely to find new jobs quickly. The Labor Department’s broadest measure of labor force underutilization — which includes part-time workers who want more hours and people who have been discouraged from job hunting — sank to its lowest rate since the household survey took its current form in 1994, a sign that employers are maximizing their existing work force as hiring remains difficult. The education and health sector gained the most jobs in June.Change in jobs, by sector More

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    Job Openings Eased, in a Sign of the Cooling Labor Market

    Employers became slightly less desperate for workers in May as job openings declined for the second straight month from a record high in March.The number of open positions fell to 11.3 million, down from an upwardly revised 11.6 million in April, the Labor Department said Wednesday in the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. That still leaves nearly two jobs available for every unemployed person in the United States.The job openings rate jumped in retail, hotels and restaurants as Americans returned to summer leisure spending and employers struggled to keep up.By most indications, the labor market has remained very strong, with initial claims for unemployment insurance only inching up in recent months. In the May survey, the share of the work force quitting jobs remained steady, as did the share who were laid off.Concern over finding enough qualified workers increased among business leaders in the second quarter of the year, according to a survey of chief financial officers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.“The labor shortage is absolutely top of mind for every industry I talk to,” said Dave Gilbertson, vice president of UKG, the payroll and shift management software company, which monitors four million hourly workers. “Every single one of them is struggling to hire. So far I haven’t seen job openings come down. A lot of those jobs have been open for a long time.”The Federal Reserve has been trying to stem inflation by using interest rates to slow down business activity just enough that the shortfall of workers becomes less of a constraint on productive capacity, but without throwing large numbers of people out of work. The gradual decrease in job openings, while layoffs remain low, is evidence that its strategy may be working. More

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    Hiring Remains Strong Even as Fed Tries to Cool Economy

    The Labor Department reported 390,000 new jobs in May, as policymakers try to ease inflation without inducing a recession.American employers extended an impressive run of hiring in May, even as policymakers took steps to cool the economy in an effort to ease high inflation.The Labor Department reported Friday that employers added 390,000 jobs, the 17th straight monthly gain. The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent for the third straight month, a touch away from a half-century low.At the same time, the labor force grew by 330,000 people, and the share of adults employed or looking for work continued to edge closer to prepandemic levels.The data signaled that the Federal Reserve’s initial moves to dial back its monetary support for the economy were — at least so far — not constraining business activity so much that hiring was feeling a pinch.After the strong rebound from the depths of the coronavirus lockdowns — all but 800,000 of the 22 million jobs that were lost have been recovered — the Fed has shifted its emphasis from maximum employment to its other mandate: price stability. The challenge is to apply its primary tool, a steady series of interest-rate increases, without inflicting a recession.“I think we’re on sort of what looks like a glide path right now, and that’s good — nothing’s broken,” said Guy Berger, the principal economist at the career-focused social network LinkedIn. “But keep fast-forwarding it a year and the question marks are still big.”The closely watched indicators include the impact on wages, which have been increasing at a pace not seen in decades, though not enough to keep up with inflation over the past year. The Fed is worried that rising labor costs will be passed along to consumers.Wages kept rising across industries.Percent change in average hourly earnings for nonmanagers since January 2019

    Data is seasonally adjusted. Not adjusted for inflation.Source: Bureau of Labor StatisticsBy The New York TimesOn that score, the Labor Department report showed little change in trajectory. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, the same pace as in April, and were 5.2 percent higher than a year earlier, compared with a 5.5 percent year-over-year increase in April.“It’s moderating, but it’s not moderating to a level, I think, where it’s consistent with the Fed’s inflation goals,” said Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at J.P. Morgan, said of wage growth. He said the Fed would probably want wages to cool toward an annualized 3.5 percent pace, at the higher end, a rate that officials view as aligned with 2 percent inflation.The State of Jobs in the United StatesJob gains continue to maintain their impressive run, even as government policymakers took steps to cool the economy and ease inflation.May Jobs Report: U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.6 percent ​​in the fifth month of 2022.Vacancies: Employers had 11.4 million vacancies in April down from a revised total of nearly 11.9 million the previous month, which was a record.Opportunities for Teenagers: Jobs for high school and college students are expected to be plentiful this summer, and a large market means better pay.Higher Interest Rates: Spurred by red-hot inflation, the Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates. What does that mean for the job market?President Biden gave a nuanced celebration of the jobs data in remarks on Friday, emphasizing recent gains while arguing that a slowdown would be welcome, allowing inflation to ease.“The point is this: We’ve laid an economic foundation that’s historically strong,” Mr. Biden said. “Now we’re moving forward to a new moment, where we can build on that foundation, build a future of stable, steady growth so that we can bring down inflation without sacrificing all of the historic gains that we have made.”Stocks declined on Friday and bond yields rose as investors evidently read the report as reinforcing the Fed’s muscular efforts, which risk denting economic growth. “The better the data, the more difficult that a pause or reduced pace of tightening later this year becomes,” analysts at TD Securities wrote in a research report published after the jobs numbers were released.The continued job gains are among many indications of a vibrant economy. Reports from the nation’s largest banks show checking accounts are still above 2019 levels for nearly all income groups. New bankruptcies and debt-collection proceedings are both at their lowest levels since tracking began in 1999.Yet those encouraging trends have been at odds with the generally sour national mood, dominated by inflation concerns. U.S. consumer sentiment declined in early May to the lowest since 2011, according to the University of Michigan.The unemployment rate stayed flat in May.The share of people who have looked for work in the past four weeks or are temporarily laid off More

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    Job Openings Declined Slightly in April From a High Point

    The labor market may be cooling off, but not by much, according to new data on job openings and turnover.Employers had 11.4 million vacancies in April, according to the Labor Department, down from a revised total of nearly 11.9 million the previous month, which was a record.The April vacancies represented 7 percent of the entire employment base, and left nearly two available jobs for every person looking for work, reflecting continued high demand for labor even as the Federal Reserve begins to tamp it down.The number of people who left their jobs was steady, at six million, also close to the highest number ever recorded, as was the number of people hired, at 6.6 million. The data, gathered on the last business day of April, was reported Wednesday in the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report.Employment gaps remain largest in the services sector, where consumers have shifted more of their spending as pandemic restrictions have eased, but they are shrinking. The leisure and hospitality industry had a vacancy rate of 8.9 percent, for example, down from 9.7 percent in March.The State of Jobs in the United StatesThe U.S. economy has regained more than 90 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the height of pandemic in the spring of 2020.April Jobs Report: U.S. employers added 428,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.6 percent ​​in the fourth month of 2022.Vacancies: Employers had 11.4 million vacancies in April down from a revised total of nearly 11.9 million the previous month, which was a record.Opportunities for Teenagers: Jobs for high school and college students are expected to be plentiful this summer, and a large market means better pay.Higher Interest Rates: Spurred by red-hot inflation, the Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates. What does that mean for the job market?The construction and manufacturing industries, however, had the greatest surge in openings. Both reached record highs, showing that demand for housing and goods hasn’t slowed enough to make a dent in available jobs.Wages have escalated rapidly in recent months as employers have competed to fill positions, peaking in March at a 6 percent increase from a year earlier, according to a tracker published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Although not quite fast enough to keep up with inflation, growth has been stronger for hourly workers and those switching jobs. The millions of workers quitting each month tend to find new jobs that pay better, data shows.Employers have struggled to bring workers back from the pandemic, which initially sent labor force participation down to levels not seen since the 1970s, before a wave of women entered the workplace. The economy remains more than a million jobs under its peak employment level in February 2020.Steve Pemberton, chief human resources officer for the employee benefits platform Workhuman, said his firm’s clients gave out 50 percent more monetary awards to their employees in 2021 over the previous year in an effort to increase retention. But he doubts that work force participation will ever reach its prepandemic level given the options available outside traditional employment.“You can’t gig your way to a living wage in some parts of the country,” Mr. Pemberton said. “But for the overwhelming majority of the work force, they might say, ‘Going back to being a full-time employee isn’t something I’m going to do; I’ve found a way to make a living with multiple jobs.’” (The JOLTS report does not capture those working as independent contractors.)Layoffs declined to a low of 1.2 million, indicating that employers are hanging on to as many workers as they can. That number fits with new claims for unemployment insurance, although they’ve been rising since reaching a half-century low in March.Over the weekend, Christopher J. Waller, a Federal Reserve governor, gave a speech explaining how he hoped interest rate increases would slow inflation: by shrinking the number of vacancies without putting too many people out of work.“The unemployment rate will increase, but only somewhat because labor demand is still strong — just not as strong,” Mr. Waller said. “And because when the labor market is very tight, as it is now, vacancies generate relatively few hires.” More

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    April Jobs Report: Gain of 428,000 Shows Vibrant Labor Market

    The Labor Department reported a gain of 428,000 jobs in April, along with a 5.5 percent increase in average hourly earnings from a year earlier.The U.S. economic rebound from the pandemic’s devastation held strong in April with another month of solid job growth.Employers added 428,000 jobs, matching the previous month, the Labor Department reported Friday, with the growth broad-based across every major industry.The unemployment rate remained 3.6 percent, just a touch above its level before the pandemic, when it was the lowest in half a century.The challenge of a highly competitive labor market for employers — a shortage of available workers — persisted as well. In fact, the report showed a decline of 363,000 in the labor force.The economy has regained nearly 95 percent of the 22 million jobs lost at the height of coronavirus-related lockdowns two years ago. But the labor supply has not kept up with a record wave of job openings as businesses expand to match consumers’ continued willingness to buy a variety of goods and services. There are now 1.9 job openings for every unemployed worker.The hiring scramble has driven up wages, and employers are largely passing on that expense, helping fuel inflation that Americans have cited as their leading economic concern. On that front, Friday’s report showed an easing in the acceleration of average hourly earnings, which increased 0.3 percent from the month before, after a 0.5 percent gain in March.President Biden pointed to the latest data as evidence of “the strongest job creation economy in modern times,” a message the White House is increasingly amplifying ahead of the congressional elections.The unemployment rate stayed under 4 percent in April.The share of people who have looked for work in the past four weeks or are temporarily laid off, which does not capture everyone who lost work because of the pandemic. More