Employers Still Struggling to Fill Job Openings as Mass Resignations Continue

Job openings remained near record highs in January as employers continued to struggle to fill positions, The New York Times reports.

Labor Department data released on Wednesday shows that job openings fell to 11.3 million, down slightly from the December total but 61% higher than pre-pandemic levels.

There were some hopeful signs for certain industries, as the number of accommodation and food services openings fell by 288,000 and transportation, warehousing, and utilities openings dropped by 132,000.

The numbers come as the economy continues to boom despite growing inflation. The economy added 678,000 new jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8% -- the lowest rate since the pandemic began.

Great Resignation continues:

The January data also showed that 4.3 million people quit or changed their job in February, down slightly from the record high 4.5 million that quit in November.

In all, about 50 million Americans have quit or changed their jobs in the last year, a trend that could continue as workers clamor for more remote employment options while businesses are moving to return to in-person work.

The labor participation rate has also rebounded, with 79.5% of working-age Americans either working or looking for jobs, just one point lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The trend is likely to boost wages, which have been hampered by rising inflation.

What about wages?

Federal Reserve data shows that workers who quit their jobs are typically seeing higher wages, though much of that is in industries where workers are generally low-paid.

Though Labor Department data showed strong wage increases in January, hourly earnings were effectively flat last month.

Federal Reserve data shows that the average pay increases are about on par with wage growth seen before the 2007 recession.


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