As job openings hit record for third straight month, economist sees labor leverage

Job openings in the U.S. reached more than 9.2 million at the end of May, the third month in a row to produce a record-breaking number of openings, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Despite Missouri and other states cutting supplemental federal unemployment aid in mid-June in an effort to combat labor shortages, the unprecedented level of job openings suggests that the market is still in job seekers’ favor.

“Companies still need to appeal to what job seekers are looking for in order to fill their open roles,” Andrew Hunter, economist and co-founder of online job search engine Adzuna, said in a statement. “Especially now that many organizations have made their requirements more flexible and pulled out all of the stops to win over talent.”

May statistics also show a drop in the quit rate, to 2.5% from 2.8%, and a decrease in separations, to 5.3 million from 5.8 million. Both those data points indicate workers are staying in their jobs.

Industries with the most openings included education and health, trade, transportation and utilities, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality. All reported more than 1 million openings in May.

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