Job openings in the United States reached a new high in July, highlighting the ongoing staffing shortages that make it difficult for firms to satisfy demand. 

According to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, the number of available positions increased to 10.9 million in July from an upwardly revised 10.2 million in June. According to a Bloomberg study, economy experts expect job postings to stay unchanged at 10 million. 

Following the layoff of millions of workers last year, the fast recovery in economic activity has left many businesses analysts critically understaffed. “Help Wanted” banners can be seen in the windows of companies across the United States, and many eateries have reduced their operating hours. 

Employers have offered incentives to attract candidates, such as greater salary and one-time bonuses, yet the available labor pool is still limited due to pandemic-related reasons. 

In the future, hiring restrictions should ease as virus fears subside and schools reopen for in-person learning. However, the increase in infections caused by the delta variety and its influence on schools and Americans’ general feeling of safety in the workplace may cause considerable delays in filling posts. In July, the number of openings outnumbered the number of employees by 4.3 million, the highest since data began in 2000. The number of workers who resigned their employment willingly increased to 4 million in the month, and the quits rate remained constant at a near-record 2.7 percent. 

The greatest gains in job opportunities were health care and social support, finance and insurance, and lodging and food services. Total hiring fell to 6.7 million in July, primarily in retail jobs and manufacturing. The hiring rate fell to 4.5 percent. Layoffs and discharges have increased somewhat. 

JOLTS figures lag behind the government’s monthly job data. Last week’s report indicated that payrolls increased by only 235,000 in August, below all economists’ predictions, as the delta variation spread and persistent hiring issues impacted employment growth. 

Separate data released last week revealed that half of the small-business owners could not replace open positions in August, a new high in the National Federation of Independent Business survey. Meanwhile, in last month’s Conference Board survey, the share of consumers who said jobs were “plentiful” was near a two-decade high. 

Source: The Keene Sentinel