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Is Hiring in the U.S. Finally Cooling Off?

U.S. job openings are finally falling, but unemployment rates have stuck at record lows.

The U.S. job opening rate – a measure of the unmet demand for labor – dropped from its recent record-breaking heights, the BLS said.
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2 minute read

Unemployment is holding steady, but there’s new evidence that hiring is falling off its breakneck pace.

The U.S. job opening rate – a measure of the unmet demand for labor – dropped from its recent record-breaking heights, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shared last week. Employers reported 11.3 million open jobs in May, or a 6.9% job openings rate. That’s down from 7.3% in March and 7.2% in April — the highest rates in at least two decades. By comparison, three years ago, in May 2019, the job openings rate was just 4.6%.

The cooling numbers may add fuel to growing recession worries. The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, making it more expensive for consumers and companies to borrow money. Goods like groceries and gas now cost nearly 9% more than they did just one year ago. Continued tech layoffs aren’t instilling much optimism, either. Just last week, tech giants like Twitter and Shopify slashed additional workers.

Screen Shot 2022-07-11 at 1.22.55 PM Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

But take a deep breath: The overall labor market isn’t nearly as bad as it may appear, another federal jobs report released Friday shows. In June, the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% for a fourth straight month, according to the BLS. Employers also added 372,000 new positions across industries like healthcare, hospitality and professional services. Private-sector employment also finalized its rebound.

President Joe Biden is clinging to this positive economic picture, at least. “Today, we learned that our private sector has recovered all of the jobs lost during the pandemic, and added jobs on top of that,” he said in a statement on Friday. “This has been the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history.”

The current labor market is confusing, but it hasn’t ground to a halt just yet. Check out stillhiring.fyi to find open roles at hundreds of high-growth companies, from startups to non-profits. And for more job-seeking resources, subscribe to Work in Progress, The Org’s bi-weekly newsletter for career guidance and work news.