(Bloomberg) — U.S. job openings surged in June by more than forecast to a fresh record high, highlighting businesses’ persistent struggles to hire enough workers to keep up with rebounding economic activity.
The number of available positions rose to 10.1 million during the month from an upwardly revised 9.5 million in May, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed Monday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey had called for an increase to 9.27 million openings.
Faced with a snapback in consumer demand for services like travel and dining out, employers have been scrambling to fill a multitude of vacant positions, but the supply of labor remains restrained. Ongoing child care obligations, health concerns and enhanced unemployment benefits have kept some Americans from returning to the workforce.
Labor supply is expected to increase in the coming months as supplemental federal jobless benefits expire and schools reopen. That said, the rapidly spreading delta variant could delay more significant progress in labor force participation if growing health concerns spur Americans to delay returning to work.
The number of vacancies exceeded hires by 3.4 million in June, a slightly narrower gap from the record seen a month earlier. The number of people who voluntarily left their jobs increased to 3.9 million in the month, and the quits rate rose to 2.7%.
Job openings rose across several industries, led by professional and business services, retail trade and accommodation and food services.
Total hires rose to 6.7 million in June, while the hires rate increased to 4.6%. Hiring gains were led by retail trade, state and local government education and durable goods manufacturing. Layoffs and discharges were little changed.
The JOLTS figures trail the government’s monthly jobs report. That report, out last week, showed U.S. payrolls rose by 943,000 in July — the most in nearly a year — suggesting companies had success in filling open positions last month.
Even so, firms including Hilton Worldwide Holdings (NYSE:) Inc. have continued to point to severe labor shortages on recent earnings calls. In an effort to lure workers to open jobs, businesses including Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:). and McDonald’s (NYSE:) Corp. have raised wages and offered incentives like hiring bonuses.
(Adds further detail on hiring by industry.)
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