Job openings surged in September, surprising economists who expected a fall amid the Federal Reserve’s aggressive actions to cool the economy.
According to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), job openings totaled 10.7 million in September, up from a revised 10.3 million in August.
Despite the Federal Reserve’s efforts to contain a labor market that is fueling the highest inflation in four decades, employment openings were well above the FactSet estimate for 9.85 million.
The latest JOLTS report numbers are unlikely to change Fed officials from approving a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point interest rate increase later this week.
September’s data indicates that there are 1.9 job openings for every available worker, a disparity that fuels a wage increase.
According to the report new hires dropped to just under 6.1 million, their lowest level since February 2021, while people quitting their jobs fell to below 4.1 million, the second-lowest level seen all year. Layoffs decreased to 1.3 million from a revised 1.5 million.
The personal consumption expenditures price index last week confirmed core inflation advanced by 0.5% in September, unchanged from August. The annual increase of 5.1% remains way above the Fed’s goal of a 2% average level.