US job openings remained stable during February and show resilience

Job offers in USA They were little changed in February from the previous month, suggesting that labor demand is stabilizing at a high level.

The number of available positions rose to 8.76 million, primarily reflecting a rebound in state and local government and finances, from a downwardly revised figure of 8.75 million in January. Tuesday's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (Jolts) also showed an increase in hiring.

The Federal Reserve has been seeking softer conditions in the labor market, ideally through fewer vacant positions rather than direct job losses. As long as vacancies remain high, wages are likely to continue growing, which could also risk persistent inflation.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reiterated last week that the central bank is in no rush to cut interest rates and that policymakers would like to see more evidence that inflation is receding sustainably before doing so.

At the same time, there are some signs that the labor market is weakening. Openings fell in information, healthcare and retail. Additionally, layoffs rose to a nearly one-year high due to a spike in layoffs in the leisure and hospitality sector, the Jolts report showed.

The so-called resignation rate, which measures people who voluntarily leave employment as a proportion of total employment, remained at 2.2%, the lowest since 2020. The moderation in resignations suggests that Americans are feeling less confident in their ability to find other jobs in the current market situation, or reflects a smaller wage premium for people looking to change jobs.

The ratio of vacancies to unemployed fell to a four-month low of 1.36. While still somewhat indicative of a tight labor market, the figure has decreased substantially over the past year. At your point maximum in 2022, the ratio was two to one.

What Bloomberg Economics says

With the share of vacancies and unemployed workers falling amid rising unemployment, we expect wage pressures to ease in the future. As the labor market becomes more aligned and wage pressures ease, the Federal Reserve should become more comfortable with the idea of ​​cutting rates this summer..

The JOLTS data precedes the government's monthly jobs report at the end of the week, which economists forecast will show that Employers added more than 200,000 jobs for the fourth consecutive month in March.

Some economists have questioned the reliability of the Jolts statistics in part because of the survey's low response rate.