Restaurant with vacancies seeks workers in Oceanside, California, United States, May 10, 2021. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo

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  • Job vacancies rise from 431,000 to 11 million in October
  • Hiring falls by 82,000; resigns decline 205,000

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 (Reuters) – Job vacancies in the United States surged in October as hiring declined, suggesting a worsening labor shortage, which could hamper the growth of the employment and the economy as a whole.

The Ministry of Labor’s monthly job vacancies and turnover survey, or JOLTS report, also showed a steady decline in layoffs, another sign the labor market was tightening on Wednesday. . While the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs has decreased, it has remained quite high.

“Under normal circumstances, there is a near record number of vacancies worth celebrating,” said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. “But no employer is in a festive mood. It’s hard to fill orders or meet customer demands if there aren’t enough people to do the actual work.”

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Job vacancies, a measure of labor demand, rose from 431,000 to 11.0 million on the last day of October. This is the second highest record on record. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 10.4 million vacancies.

The push was led by the accommodation and food services industry, where vacancies increased by 254,000 jobs. There were 45,000 job vacancies in the non-durable goods manufacturing industry, while job vacancies increased by 42,000 in the educational services sector. But job vacancies fell by 115,000 in state and local governments, excluding education.

Regionally, the increase in vacancies was most pronounced in the South, with moderate gains in the West and Midwest. Vacancies fell in the North East. The vacancy rate rose to 6.9% from 6.7% in September.

Hiring fell from 82,000 jobs to 6.5 million in October. The finance and insurance industry was responsible for the decline, with a drop of 96,000 employees. There has been, however, an increase in hiring in educational services as well as in state and local government education. The hiring rate remained unchanged at 4.4%.

There were around 1.5 job vacancies per unemployed person in October.

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The government announced last Friday that the non-farm payroll increased by 210,000 jobs in November, the lowest number since last December, after increasing by 546,000 in October. The unemployment rate fell to a 21-month low at 4.2%. Read more

Although employment is 3.9 million jobs below the peak in February 2020, economists believe this number likely does not accurately reflect the health of the labor market, as the deficit includes people who have retired. .

The JOLTS report showed that layoffs fell from 35,000 to 1.361 million. The layoff rate was unchanged at 0.9% for a third consecutive month.

Departures fell by 205,000 to a still high figure of 4 million in October. The decline occurred in several industries, with significant declines in transportation, warehousing and utilities as well as finance and insurance, and the arts, entertainment and recreation.

But 21,000 more people quit their jobs in state and local government, not to mention education. There were also more quits in mining and logging. The dropout rate fell to 2.8% from 3.0% in September against a backdrop of sharp decline in the leisure and hospitality sector.

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“The quit rate in these industries has fallen by half a percentage point, signaling some relaxation in job leaps,” said Nick Bunker, research director at Indeed Hiring Lab. “In addition to the slowdown in wage growth in the sector seen in recent employment reports, this trend suggests that the advantageous situation for workers in this sector could deteriorate in the coming months if the current situation continues. . “

The quit rate is normally viewed by policymakers and economists as a measure of confidence in the labor market. The still high quit rate suggests that wage inflation is likely to remain uncomfortably high for some time. Inflation is well above the Federal Reserve’s flexible 2% target.

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Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.