Job Openings Continued Their Graceful Normalization in June

Job openings and quits declined modestly, pointing to gradually normalizing labor market turnover

The U.S. labor market continued its graceful return to more normal turnover patterns in June, according to today’s JOLTS report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job openings fell slightly to 9.6M, and employee quits fell slightly to 3.8M—both indicators of gradually cooling labor market conditions. 

Competition for workers and labor market churn remained historically high, however, with 37% more job openings and 8% more employees quitting jobs each month than before the pandemic. Layoffs are still lower by 22%, with U.S. workers continuing to enjoy more job security than usual. But conditions have normalized substantially since the peak of the Great Resignation from mid-2021 to mid-2022. 

Notable findings in today’s report: 

  • Record-low layoffs and record-high quits in arts, entertainment, and recreation. Only 31k workers in arts, entertainment, and recreation were laid off or fired in June—about 50% fewer than in a typical month before the pandemic. Workers are in high demand across the sector as Americans flood back to concerts, baseball games, and movie theaters. Quits in the industry hit an all-time high, and workers found it easier to switch into better jobs. 
  • Record-high job openings in state and local governments. Local governments have been slow to restaff since the pandemic, but job openings data suggest that they are now on a hiring spree, looking to catch up now that private-sector hiring has eased somewhat and competition for talent is less intense. 
  • Record-high quits in enterprise companies with 5,000+ employees. Major U.S. enterprises tend to have an advantage over smaller businesses when it comes to recruitment and retention, but today’s JOLTS data suggest that enterprise companies have their fair share of recruitment struggles. 49K employees at enterprise organizations quit their jobs in June. That’s 58% more than before the pandemic. 

Overall, the report pointed to stabilization in the labor market. Before the pandemic, the JOLTS report seldom made the front page. The most common phrase found in monthly JOLTS reports was “little changed.” With little movement in key JOLTS indicators in June, today’s report is a reminder of those good old days.

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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