According to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings plunged by more than a million in August, potentially signaling that the massive U.S. labor gap could close.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) revealed that available positions in the U.S. totaled 10.05 million in August, a 10% drop from the 11.17 million reported the month prior and more than a million less than estimated by FactSet.
The number of people hired rose slightly, while total separations jumped by 182,000. Quits, or those who left their jobs voluntarily, rose by 100,000 for the month to 4.16 million.
The JOLTS is watched closely by the Federal Reserve, as the ultra-tight labor market has been a primary driver of inflation — the outsized demand for the scarce labor pool has helped drive up wages sharply.
While the report does provide a potential sign that the labor gap is closing, economists and the markets still expect the Central Bank to push forward with a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point interest rate hike at its next meeting.
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