1 of 2 | More than 10 million new jobs were created in April, showing efforts to cool the economy with successive rate hikes has yet to work as intended. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
May 31 (UPI) -- Moving against broader strains in the U.S. economy, the federal government said new job openings topped 10 million and those leaving their jobs declined.
The JOLTS report -- referring to the job openings and labor turnover survey -- showed 10.1 million new job openings as of the last day of April. Actual hires were unchanged at around 6.1 million and the total number of people who left their jobs for various reasons declined to 5.7 million.
Within total separations, some 3.8 million people quit, relatively unchanged from the prior month, while the number of people who were laid off or fired declined to 1.6 million people.
What would be good news in years past is bad news in an era when consumer-level inflation is entrenched. More jobs lead to more income, which increases the amount of discretionary cash that consumers have, thereby supporting a higher level of inflation.
Policymakers at the U.S. Federal Reserve are walking a tight rope in their fight against inflation, which remains a few percentage points above the 2% target rate. Too aggressive, and policymakers risk running the economy into a recession that would be coupled by broad-based layoffs, while too soft of a policy would create lingering headaches.
Philip Jefferson, a governor at the Federal Reserve, said in mid-May that there may be some headwinds in the labor market given recent trends pointing to a slowdown in the U.S. economy.
"My expectation is that the slowing economy will soon begin to reduce job growth, with labor supply and labor demand coming into better balance," he said.
Recent rhetoric from the Fed suggested something of a wait-and-see approach on further rate hikes, though more up-to-date data could mean the work is not done.
Ed Moya, a strategist at New York brokerage OANDA, said "the Fed is going to have to do more tightening and the case for raising at the June 14th meeting continues to grow."