US job openings fall to lowest level in five months

Openings indicate cooling labour market amid uncertainty

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

US job openings slid to the lowest level in five months in July, marking the latest sign of how the once red-hot American labour market is cooling amid uncertainty stemming from the US-China trade war.

The number of job openings declined to 7.22 million in July, from 7.25 million the previous month, according to the labour department’s Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The figure was shy of economists’ expectations for 7.48 million, according to Reuters.

Still, the report showed the quits rate, or the rate at which people voluntarily left their jobs, climbed to 2.4 per cent. The quits rate is seen as a gauge of workers’ confidence in the US labour market and their ability to find a new job.

Tuesday’s data follow a weak non-farm payroll report last week that showed US job growth fell to its weakest level in three months in August despite a boost from temporary hiring for census workers.

Signs of slowing momentum in the jobs market come ahead of the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week, where markets expect the central bank to deliver a 25 basis point rate cut, its second of the year.

– Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019