Job Openings Sink to Lowest Level in 17 Months

Job openings have sunk to their lowest level since March 2018, according to data released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS, showed job openings decline by 123,000 to 7.05 million in August 2019, and the number of new hires decline by 199,000 to 5.78 million.

Slipping job openings and hires are a sign that companies are starting to pull back on hiring amid a global slowdown in economic growth, continued trade policy uncertainty, and mounting fears of a possible recession. 

JOLTS data releases are delayed by a month, but real-time data generated in the ZipRecruiter marketplace suggest that the slide in job openings and hires likely continued through September. In that month, ZipRecruiter saw a decline in job postings in every industry, except arts and entertainment and the non-profit sector. Job postings fell 9% in manufacturing and 11% in the energy industry–two industries that were major engines of job growth in 2018. 

On the bright side, there are still 1 million more job openings than unemployed workers–a major reason the unemployment rate has continued to fall and the participation rate for prime working-age Americans has continued to rise.  

Julia Pollak

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ZipRecruiter's Labor Economist, Julia Pollak conducts job market research and provides unique insights to job seekers, employers, and the ZipRecruiter leadership team.

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