Investing.com — U.S. job openings dropped in October, pointing to a possible easing in labor demand that could bolster the case for the Federal Reserve to start backing away from a long-standing campaign of interest rate hikes.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, showed that the number of available roles dipped to 8.733 million as of the final business day of the month, decreasing from a downwardly revised mark of 9.350 million at the end of September. Economists had called for a reading of 9.300 million.
A decline in openings in the health care, finance and real estate sectors offset an uptick in positions in information services, according to the numbers from the Labor Department.
Layoffs came in at 1.6 million, little changed from the prior month. Meanwhile, the ratio of job openings per unemployed American dipped to 1.3, inching closer to the pre-pandemic level of 1.2.
“It’s still a good job market, but losing momentum,” said Kathy Jones, Chief Fixed Income Strategist at Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), in a post on social media platform X.
The survey comes as markets gear up for the release of the all-important monthly non-farm payrolls report later this week, which may help to round out the labor picture in the world’s largest economy.
Resilience in the labor market has fueled hopes that the U.S. economy may be able to avert a recession despite a long-standing campaign of Fed rate increases aimed at cooling red-hot inflation.
However, signs of lingering strength in job demand could be interpreted as a possible accelerant to price growth, boosting the argument for the Fed to keep policy at restrictive levels for a longer period of time.