Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Job Openings Hold Steady At Elevated Level, Casting Shadow of Doubt Over Rate Cuts

The number of job openings in the U.S. held steady at around 8.9 million in January, data from the Department of Labor showed Friday.

The government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed that there were 8.863 million vacant positions at U.S. employers at the end of January, down slightly from the revised 8.889 million at the end of Decembrer. The prior months’ estimate was revised down from 9.026 million.

The report was in line with Wall Street estimates. The high and stable number of openings suggests that demand for labor remains very high, which could keep any interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve on hold for longer than markets expect.In

The number and rate of quits were little changed at 3.4 million and 2.1 percent. That’s a bit below where quits were just before the pandemic but above what was typical in the years following the 2008 financial crisis.  A rising quits rate is seen as a sign of a strengthening labor market because workers are more likely to leave their jobs when good alternatives are plentiful.

The rate of layoffs remained at one percent, a low rate by historical standards.

The number of hires was unchanged at 5.7 million, a high rate by historical standards.

The Federal Reserve says it attempts to balance maximizing employment with keeping inflation low when conducting monetary policy, as required by a decades old law. The steady and strong labor market depicted in the JOLTS report casts doubt on the argument that the Fed should be cutting rates in the near future.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell will testify about the economy and monetary policy before a House panel on Wednesday and a Senate panel on Thursday. Some Democrat lawmakers have been calling on the Fed to cut interest rates as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CNN Exit Poll: Among the Slim Margin of North Carolina Republican Voters Who Approve of Joe Biden as President, 83% Support Nikki Haley

Wyoming Bill Would Ban Tracking of Gun Sales by Credit Card Companies