(CN) – American employers advertised slightly fewer job openings in August, an indication that the labor market may be cooling amid economic worries.
The number of open jobs fell to 7.05 million on the last business day of August, down 1.7% from the July level of 7.17 million, according to a Labor Department report released Wednesday.
But openings have outpaced the number of unemployed Americans for over a year, a trend that began in March 2018 for the first time in nearly two decades. With 5.8 million people currently classified as unemployed, there are about 1.2 million more available positions than jobless people.
The record high of 7.63 million job openings was set last November.
The number of people quitting their jobs dropped to 3.5 million in August, a decrease of about 142,000. New hires also fell to 5.78 million, about 200,000 fewer than the month before.
Government job postings increased by about 19,000, but there were 142,000 fewer open jobs in the private sector.
The Labor Department reported last week that U.S. employers added a modest 136,000 new jobs in September while the unemployment rate fell to a new 50-year low of 3.5%
A key measure of inflation dropped 0.3% percent last month, a sign that the Federal Reserve could cut interest rates for a third time this year amid economic uncertainty.
The central bank slashed rates in July and again last month in light of the lagging inflation, President Donald Trump’s trade war with China and global growth fears.
The growth in the gross domestic product, a primary indicator of economic health, dropped to 2.1% in the second quarter, down from 3.1% in the first. Economists expect yearly growth of about 2.5% in 2019, a decrease from 2.9% last year.