Job openings in the world’s largest economy hit a new record high in June, closely-watched data out Monday showed.
There were 10.073 million openings on the last day of the month, an increase of 590,000 (figure below).
The headline figure dwarfed estimates. Consensus was looking for 9.27 million.
Notable jumps occurred in professional and business services (+227,000), retail trade (+133,000) and, of course, accommodation and food services (+121,000), where pervasive labor frictions have curtailed operations, according to anecdotes from businesses across the country.
Overall, hires rose to 6.7 million, a marked jump from the prior month. That helped close what had been the largest gap between vacancies and hires on record. You can see the downtick if you squint at the black line in the figure (above).
The quits rate rose to 2.7%, up from May, but still off April’s peak. The number of quits was 3.9 million (figure below).
Quits rose in professional and business services (+72,000), durable goods manufacturing (+47,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+33,000).
Openings in accommodation and food services rose to 1.44 million (figure below).
Recall that July NFP showed the food services and drinking places category (within leisure and hospitality) added more than 250,000 positions last month. That brought the number of restaurant and bar jobs created (or maybe “recouped” is better) in 2021 to 1.34 million.
Netting out January’s decline, total openings in accommodation and food services have increased by more than 750,000 in 2021, Monday’s data showed (figure below).
Openings exceeded hires by around a quarter of a million in June.
I suppose you can look at that two ways. There’s plenty of demand for labor. So, assuming the factors keeping would-be workers sidelined dissipate, slack will be absorbed rather quickly.
On the other hand, it could be that anyone who wants a job in the industry has already taken one and that the pandemic set the stage for a chronic mismatch between job openings in accommodation and food services and those willing to take them.
Time and again I’ve suggested the services sector in the US will never be the same. I’ve yet to see much that alters my assessment.