August 19, 2022

Economix: Labor Demand Gets Softer

Last week brought dismal news from the labor market as the government reported feeble job creation in May.

A government report on Tuesday shows that employers are not accelerating their demand for workers. In April, the number of job openings was 3 million, down a touch from 3.1 million in March. And the number of unemployed workers for every job opening nudged up to 4.6 in April from 4.3 a month earlier.

Although layoffs are slowing, employers are still not looking to hire in large enough numbers. The number of job openings is about half a million higher than it was at the official end of the recession two years ago, but is still 1.4 million lower than it was when the recession began at the end of 2007, and certainly not enough to absorb the 13.9 million people who are currently unemployed.

Of the 11 sectors tracked by the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, just three reported an increase in openings in April: construction; trade, transportation and utilities; and retail. And in another dose of sobering news, openings in manufacturing, one of the few engines of the fragile recovery, slipped from 235,000 in March to 230,000 in April.

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