Job Openings and Hiring Both Slipped in May

A help wanted sign appears on a bus stop in front of a McDonald’s restaurant in Miami on July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(CN) – The number of posted job openings in the U.S. dropped slightly to 7.3 million in May and hiring also ticked down that month, when employers added a disappointingly low number of new jobs to the economy.

Open jobs fell 0.7% compared to April, a sign that economic growth could be cooling, although the number is still near the record high of 7.63 million last November.

The 4.4% drop in hiring in May – 5.7 million hires, about 266,000 fewer than April – coincides with the paltry 72,000 new jobs added that month. The economy appeared to rebound in June as employers added 224,000 jobs.

Government job openings fell by 54,000 in May. In the private sector, the construction industry saw the largest decrease with 65,000 fewer open jobs compared to April.

The real estate, rental and leasing field saw a drop of 49,000 job openings while transportation, warehousing and utilities openings fell by about 60,000. But other services sectors actually posted 77,000 more open jobs than the month before.

The number of people who quit their jobs in May was little changed at 3.4 million, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday. While worker departures can be a headache for employers, economists see them as a positive sign because most people who quit do so for higher-paying positions.

There were 1.8 million layoffs and discharges in May, also about the same as April.

The national unemployment rate ticked up to 3.7% last month.

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