The U.S. labor market remained on fire in March with a record 4.5 million workers leaving their jobs, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed on Tuesday.
The number of quits increased the most in the professional and business services sector, as well as in the construction sector. The overall resignation rate rose to 3%, a level not seen since December 2021.
“As employers demand workers return to the office, quits are on the rise. One of the biggest reasons to quit is to find a remote opportunity,” wrote Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter. on Twitter.
The number of job vacancies also rose to 11.5 million, the highest level since the data series began in December 2000, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. work.
The job opening rate rose slightly to 7.1% from 7% over the previous two months. This means there were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed person in March. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has frequently pointed to the “unhealthy” tightness of the labor market, which contributes to high inflation. The central bank is expected to announce monetary policy changes on Wednesday in a bid to cool the economy just enough to bring inflation under control, but not enough to halt the expansion. It could also disrupt the labor market.
For now, American companies are still struggling to find and retain staff. The manufacturing sector in particular is still grappling with labor shortages, data from the Institute of Supply Management showed on Monday., after a key survey reported higher dropout rates.
Job openings in retail and manufacturing rose, according to JOLTS data, while government jobs and positions in transportation, warehousing and utilities declined.
“Workers continue to quit and be hired at a rapid pace in today’s economy. This ‘turnover’ is a positive sign of a strengthening job market where workers can quit, seek and obtain new opportunities, mentioned Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.
Despite the record number of resignations, hiring exceeded them in all sectors, Gould added.
The message is clear: the US labor market continues to head back to its pre-pandemic strength.
Economists and investors have more jobs data to watch this week, as the official government jobs tally for April is due Friday morning.
Economists polled by Refinitiv predict US employers added 400,000 more jobs last month. Although this would be the smallest number since April last year, it would add to the huge job gains seen during the recovery and leave the country just over a million jobs short. February 2020 level.
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