A job seeker holds a company information packet during a United Career Fairs sales and management hiring event in Oak Brook, Illinois, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

U.S. Job Openings Rise for Third Straight Month to Fresh Record

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. job openings rose in August to a fresh record and the share of workers quitting their jobs held at the highest since 2001, underscoring signs of strength in the labor market that should help propel wages higher, Labor Department data showed Tuesday.

Highlights of Job Openings (August)

  • Number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 59k to 7.14m (est. 6.9m) from an upwardly revised 7.08m in July, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS
  • Hiring increased to 5.78m; hiring rate rose to 3.9%, matching highest since 2007
  • Quits rate unchanged at 2.4%; 3.58m Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.61m

Key Takeaways

Job postings exceeded the number of unemployed people by 902,000 in August, the most in data back to 2000. That’s a positive sign for wages, which have been picking up at a very gradual pace in this expansion, even as employers say they struggle to find skilled workers. The quits rate indicates that Americans are confident in leaving their jobs for better pay or benefits elsewhere.

Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly employment figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring.

U.S. Job Openings Rise for Third Straight Month to Fresh Record