Fewer people are quitting their jobs and the number of new openings are on the decline as the Fed battles lingering inflation with aggressive rate hikes meant to cool the broader economy. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Fewer people quit their jobs and the number of new job listings declined for the third straight month in July, suggesting a degree of economic cooling, government data published Tuesday show.
Job openings declined to 8.8 million on the last business day of July, a decline of around 338,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary. That's fewer than expected and comes amid a trove of data pointing to a slowdown in the broader economy.
Job openings declined in professional services, social assistance and in government jobs, with services showing the bulk of the slowdown. Job openings increased in transportation, warehousing and utilities. Despite the modest decline, job openings are at their lowest rate in nearly two years.
The number of people who left their jobs voluntarily, a barometer of confidence in the broader market, declined 253,000 to 3.5 million in July. Most of those people quitting their jobs were in hospitality or food services.
Fewer people looking for another job suggests confidence in the market is eroding. And with a wave of strike action, most recently from members of the United Autoworkers Union, the decline in the number of quits may be ominous amid concerns about missing a paycheck.
The number of people fired or laid off was statistically even from June levels, data show.
From mortgage applications to a slump in manufacturing, the economy is showing signs of slowing down. The Federal Reserve last week hinted that more rate hikes may be necessary to cool things further if inflation remains above the 2% target rate.
"Job openings remain high but are trending lower," Fed Chair Jerome Powell said. "Payroll job growth has slowed significantly. Total hours worked has been flat over the past six months, and the average workweek has declined to the lower end of its pre-pandemic range, reflecting a gradual normalization in labor market conditions."