WASHINGTON Oct 12 U.S. job openings fell to an
eight-month low in August and hiring was little changed,
suggesting some easing in labor market conditions in part as the
economic recovery ages.
In its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey
(JOLTS) report on Wednesday the Labor Department said job
openings, a measure of labor demand, declined 388,000 to a
seasonally adjusted 5.4 million after surging to a record high
That pushed down the jobs openings rate three-tenths of a
percentage point to 3.6 percent. The number of hires was little
changed at 5.2 million in August, keeping the hiring rate steady
at 3.6 percent.
"These data can be volatile and the openings rate is still
fairly high, so it is too early to tell whether this is a signal
or just the noise of volatile monthly data," said John Ryding,
chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
"However, if this drop is sustained, it could be a sign of
increased caution on the part of businesses."
Job growth is slowing, with nonfarm payrolls increasing
156,000 in September. Employment growth has so far this year
averaged 178,000 jobs per month, down from an average gain of
229,000 positions per month in 2015.
With the bulk of the labor market slack largely absorbed and
the economy's recovery from the 2007-09 recession aging, the
slowdown in payrolls growth is normal. Federal Reserve Chair
Janet Yellen has said the economy needs to create just under
100,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)