Job Openings At A High

Insights | Job Openings At A High

Author: David I. Templeton, CFA, Principal and Portfolio Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a series high for job openings in June to 10.1 million positions. The job openings level is on top of the strong July nonfarm payroll report last week with nearly 1 million jobs added. The openings of 10.1 million once again exceed the number of those seeking employment, i.e., 8.7 million. The last time openings were greater than the number of unemployed was March 2018.

Job Openings, June, 2021 and unemployed, July 2021

As a result of this tight job market the quit rate is once again moving higher after declining in the May, 2021 report. Also showing on the below report is the unemployed worker to open position ratio.

unemployed per job opening July 2021

A bit surprising is the fact this tight labor market situation is occurring at a relatively high level of job openings. With the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ending on September 6, it likely leads to more individuals seeking and taking a new job position. Total employees on payrolls remain 6 million below the pre-pandemic high of 22.7 million or 96.3% of the pre-pandemic payroll level as seen in the second chart below.

number of employees on nonfarm payroll July 2021


nonfarm payroll percent below pre-pandemic high as of July 2021

It is probable with some of the extra unemployment benefits ending next month, nonfarm payroll gains might just run near 1 million per month for several months, all else being equal.

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