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US employment demand remained strong in April

U.S. job opportunities remained close to record levels in April, and workers continued to leave work at a high rate, which indicates an extremely tight labor market that has contributed to historically high rates of inflation.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that there were 11.4 million seasonally adjusted jobs in April, down from a record upwardly adjusted high of 11.9 million jobs the previous month. The number of times workers quit their jobs decreased slightly to 4.4 million.

The demand for workers has exceeded the number of unemployed people looking for work during the past year. During the same period, employers More than 400,000 jobs added per month To US payrolls, the unemployment rate fell 3.6%, just above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% and close to a 50-year low. Hot job market raise wages historically high rate and contributes to Highest inflation rate in four decades.

Meanwhile, consumer demand remained strong despite inflation, and industrial production increased amid supply chain and pricing challenges.

The monthly jobs report reveals key indicators about the labor market and the general state of the economy, but it doesn’t show the whole picture. The Wall Street Journal explains how to read the report, what it shows and what it doesn’t. Image caption: Liz Ornitz

The Federal Reserve is in the process of being raise interest rates at the most aggressive pace since the 1980s to cool the economy and lower inflation. It took a major step in tightening monetary policy on Wednesday by launching a plan to begin shrinking its $9 trillion asset portfolio by allowing securities to mature without reinvesting their returns in new returns. The move could put upward pressure on interest rates, adding strength to anti-inflation efforts.

High inflation has become a political headache for the Biden administration, prompting push Proceed with economic messages Before the midterm elections this fall. President Biden said earlier this week Supports Fed Efforts To Tame Inflation He also met Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell at the White House. Secretary of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday She said her inflation forecasts were wrong In comments she made last year with prices starting to rise.

Private sector estimates indicate that demand for workers remained high in May. Employers had 11.4 million jobs as of late May, according to job site Indeed. The Labor Department is due to release its employment report for May on Friday.

Economists expect job opportunities to stabilize in the coming months but remain high due to Strong consumer demand for goods and services. There were about two job openings for every unemployed person looking for work in March, according to the Labor Department.

“Workers still have a huge amount of influence in the American labor market,” said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed. “Employment prospects remain strong as job opportunities remain high, even if their growth has slowed in recent months.”

Mr Bunker said job opportunities may remain strong in the summer for sectors such as leisure and hospitality due to pent-up demand for activities such as summer travel, although Consumer price hike and possibility economic downturn.

The drop in jobs in April was largely driven by the healthcare industry, which “doesn’t appear to be a response to more hawkish Fed policy,” according to Jefferies economists Aneta Markowska and Thomas Simons.

The rates of both job vacancies and quits in the leisure and hospitality sector were down in April from the previous month. The smoking cessation rate in the real estate industry rose more than any increase, from 1.9% in March to 3.5% in April – the highest rate since July 2004.

Total employment remained flat, declining slightly to 6.6 million employees. The Labor Department said layoffs in general, which include layoffs and layoffs, also fell to six million in April.

The High level of openings It comes at a time when fewer Americans are looking for job opportunities than they were before the pandemic. The Labor force participation rateThe Ministry of Labor said in May that the percentage of workers or job seekers has steadily recovered over the past two years, but it declined in April to 62.2%, and remained below the 63.4% reached in February 2020, before the outbreak of the epidemic. .

President Biden said during a meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday that he will continue to respect the Fed’s independence as it tackles inflation, which he described as his administration’s top priority. Photo: Kevin Deitch/Getty Images

With the labor market likely to remain tight in the coming months, Mr. Bunker said departures will also continue to rise, but are likely to undo record highs. Workers who leave their jobs are seen as a sign of confidence that they can easily find another job.

Katrina Boban left her job as a financial manager after more than 30 years in the accounting industry to take up a job as a recruiter at staffing agency Robert Half early this year.

Ms Boban, 57, said she was exhausted from working in finance, on top of dealing with challenges related to the pandemic, so she decided to make a change. She made the switch after seeing that this compensation would be competitive, her workload would be more manageable, she would have the ability to work remotely and her new employer offered training.

“Covid made me sit up and think, ‘Can I keep doing this every day for the next 10 years of my life? “But I love what I’m doing now, it’s incredible,” said Mrs. Boban.

write to Brian Mina at [email protected]

Corrections and amplifications
The drop in employment in April was largely driven by the healthcare sector. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the drop in job opportunities last month was largely driven by the healthcare industry. (Corrected 1 June).

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