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Job Openings Slip 4.8% in April, Signaling Cooler Labor Market

The number of job openings in the United States declined by 4.8% in April.

There were 8.1 million job openings available on the last business day of April, down from 8.4 million in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary released Tuesday (June 4).

The April figure was below economists’ estimates, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

It was also the lowest number of job openings seen in over three years, adding to data that shows that the labor market is gradually cooling through slower hiring rather than job cuts, according to the report.

The greatest decreases in job openings in April were in healthcare and social assistance and in state and local government education, according to the BLS press release. Those figures were down by 204,000 and 59,000, respectively.

At the same time, there was an increase of 50,000 job openings in private educational services, the release said.

The BLS said there was little change in hires and total separations in April.

The number of hires was gauged at 5.6 million, unchanged from March. By sector, there were 52,000 more hires in durable goods manufacturing but a decrease of 45,000 in arts, entertainment and recreation and a drop of 8,000 in federal government.

The number of total separations was 5.4 million in April, little changed from 5.3 million in March, per the press release. Among the different sorts of separations, quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations alike were little changed during the month.

The number of layoffs remains historically low, according to the Bloomberg report. The rate of people voluntarily leaving their job was at its lowest level since 2020.

The ratio of job openings to unemployed people was gauged at 1.2, down from a peak of 2-to-1 in 2022, and is about back to the level seen pre-COVID-19, per the report.

This report comes a week after the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index said that consumers’ views of labor market conditions were improving. Fewer respondents said jobs were “hard to get,” outweighing a slight dip in the number who said jobs were “plentiful.”