U.S employers were trying to hire for 6.6 million jobs as of the end of July, an increase of 617,000 over the end of June, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday (Sept. 9).
“Job openings rose in a number of industries, with the largest increases in retail trade (+172,000), health care and social assistance (+146,000), and construction (+90,000),” the agency wrote in the narrative accompanying the announcement. “The number of job openings increased in the South and Midwest regions.”
Job openings increased in July compared to June in all of the four geographical regions measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
On the negative side for the end-of-July figures, compared to the end-of-June numbers: “Hires decreased in a number of industries, with the largest fall in accommodation and food services (-599,000), followed by other services (-143,000), and health care and social assistance (-137,000).”
Hires fell in all four regions.
In terms of job losses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in July, some 2.9 million people quit their positions, 344,000 more than had done so during June; 1.7 million people were laid off, 274,000 fewer than in June; and the number of uncategorized job departures remained essentially flat at 337,000.
Job losses for all reasons fell in the Northeast and South and rose in the Midwest and West.
“These changes in the labor market reflected an ongoing resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the BLS wrote in its assessment of the data.
The new BLS report follows the release last week of jobless claims data suggesting the economic recovery from COVID-19 is advancing, but slowly.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent in August from 10.2 percent in July, the government reported. The August figures were better than the Bloomberg consensus.
Retailers in August added 249,000 jobs, according to the official report.