US job openings hit 10.9M as companies struggle to hire


US job openings swelled to a record-high 10.9 million in July as companies continued to struggle to attract new employees amid an ongoing shortage of workers, the feds said Wednesday.

That means that job openings outnumbered the unemployed by more than 2 million in July, according to new data from the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.

JOLTS data is reported a month later than the nonfarm payrolls report, which showed there were 8.7 million people looking for jobs in July.

The number of job openings for July rose by more than 700,000 from the month prior, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

It’s the highest number of job openings ever recorded in the JOLTS data and came in far higher than the 9.9 million openings economists expected to see.

A "NOW HIRING" sign is posted in the window of The Wharf Chocolate Factory at Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey, Calif.
In July, there were more job openings than people unemployed by more than 2 million.
Rich Pedroncelli/AP

By sector, health care and social assistance saw the biggest rise of 294,000 new openings posted in July while finance and insurance saw 116,000 new jobs posted, the report said. Accommodation and food services added 115,000 new postings in the month.

The rate of job openings against the total labor force rose to 6.9 percent in July, up from 6.5 percent in June, the report noted.

The number of people who quit their jobs was little changed from the month prior at 4 million and the quits rate remained unchanged at 2.7 percent, according to Wednesday’s data.

A We're Hiring sign advertising job openings.
The number of job openings from June to July rose by more than 700,000.
Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP

That, along with rising hourly wages that were reported last week, could be a sign that workers are more optimistic about their ability to find work.

The number and rate of hires also remained little changed at 6.7 million and 4.5 percent, respectively.

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