Job Openings Hit Record Hight as Workers Quit in Droves

Job openings in the U.S. surged to a record high in June as businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, were struggling to fill open positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), the number of unfilled positions reached 10.07 million on the last business day of June, up from 9.48 million at the end of May and 2.5 million higher than the pre-pandemic series high of 7.57 million reached in the fall of 2018.

While the high level of job openings is a good sign that the labor market is recovering from its historic slump, employers are having trouble finding workers to hire as people are also leaving their existing jobs in high numbers. According to Tuesday’s JOLTS report, 3.87 million Americans quit their jobs in June, indicating a high level of optimism that they can find another, possibly higher-paid position elsewhere. Meanwhile the number of layoffs and discharges also reached a new series low, completing the trifecta of labor market optimism.

Overall, 6.72 million hirings stood opposite 5.58 million separations (incl. quits and layoffs) in June. The resulting employment change of 1.14 million brings the total net employment gain to 6.9 million for the past twelve months, although it needs to be noted that this total includes workers who may have been hired and/or fired multiple times during that period.