U.S. Job Openings Remain High, Hiring Rebounds, Wage Growth Continues

July 12, 2019

The Department of Labor reported there were 7.3 million job openings in May—1.4 million more than the number of unemployed Americans looking for work—as payroll job growth rebounded in June and hourly wage growth remained above 3% over the past year.

The layoff rate remains near its record low, indicating employers are continuing to hang onto employees despite the uncertainty caused by the ongoing tariff disputes.

The quit rate remains high (2.3%), nearing the 18-year high (2.4%) set in January 2001, suggesting confidence that job prospects remain strong for many workers.

Competition for employees is sustaining wage growth.  Over the past year the average hourly earnings for all employees increased 3.1 percent, while the average for production and nonsupervisory employees jumped 3.4 percent.

Outlook:  Although the trade uncertainty and slowing growth abroad have businesses beginning to hold back on investment, U.S. economic expansion continues to be supported by steady job gains, increases in household wealth, and expansionary fiscal policy.