Job openings changed little in September, the Labor Department announced on Wednesday.
There were 9.6 million job openings in September, slightly up from August’s revised total of 9.5 million, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The figure was greater than economists’ expectations of 9.3 million openings. The rate of workers quitting their jobs was flat, at 2.3 percent, for the third straight month.
Why It Matters: The Fed looks for signs of a soft landing.
The Federal Reserve closely monitors job openings to understand whether the economy is running too hot. Since March 2022, the Fed has tried to fight inflation by raising interest rates to their highest level since 2001.
The Fed has remained committed to hitting an annual inflation target of 2 percent without causing a significant spike in unemployment — a combined outcome known as a “soft landing.”
Fed officials are expected to maintain a target range of 5.25 to 5.5 percent for interest rates when they meet on Wednesday. The overall trend of slowing job openings is a sign that rate increases have cooled the economy, according to experts.
“All of this means the Fed probably doesn’t feel the need to raise rates further, but they’re not going to ease anytime soon,” said Sonu Varghese, global macro strategist at Carson Group, said of the report on job openings.
Job openings, which reached a record of more than 12 million in March 2022, have trended down, as has the job-quitting rate, while separations have been flat. As openings rose slightly in September, the number of openings per unemployed worker was flat, at 1.5, the same as August.
Less churn in the labor market indicates that rate increases are having an effect, said Julia Pollak, the chief economist at the job search website ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter’s latest survey of new employees found that the share of hires who received a pay increase, got a signing bonus or were recruited to their new jobs each fell.