Job openings surged to 10.1 million in June

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The figure represents a new record

The Labor Department said Monday that the number of job openings in the U.S. exceeded 10 million in June. The figure topped economists’ expectations of 9.1 million openings and broke a previous record. 

In May, the number of job openings was 9.5 million. The Labor Department said in its Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey that the increase suggests that demand for workers is still on the rise. Officials say it also means the economy is bouncing back from last year’s COVID-19 shutdowns.

Broken down by sector, retail trade leisure and hospitality saw one of the biggest jumps in job openings, at more than 1.6 million. Health care and social assistance had 1.5 million job postings in June. Accommodation and food services added 121,000 new openings.

“Labor demand keeps getting stronger. This is the third straight month of record-breaking job openings,” Indeed Hiring Lab director of research Nick Bunker said in a note. “The quits rate is also close to its all-time high, which was set just two months ago in April. This wave of demand will eventually recede, but job seekers should ride it until then.”

Employers still struggling to fill positions

Pandemic-related factors -- lack of childcare, health concerns, and unemployment benefits, to name a few -- are still holding down the number of workers who are ready to jump back into the labor force. The JOLTS report shows that job openings still exceeded the number of Americans looking for work (8.7 million).

To raise employment numbers, some states have already put an end to the unemployment benefits introduced during the pandemic. The rest of the nation will see those benefits expire next month. 

Many large retailers struggling to fill jobs have raised pay and unveiled new perks as a way to get potential workers off the sidelines. In May, Amazon announced $1,000 hiring bonuses and pay raises for many of its hourly workers. Last week, CVS announced that it would raise its hourly minimum wage and eliminate education requirements in an effort to expand its workforce. 

Target announced last month that it would give each of its roughly 340,000 hourly workers a $200 bonus as a way of showing appreciation and recognition for continuing to “show up bigtime.” The retailer also recently said it will offer employees a debt-free college education starting this fall. Walmart had already announced a similar education program. 

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