Job openings were little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of September. Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.3 million and 5.2 million, respectively.
U.S. employers hired at a strong pace in October, and revisions showed the labor market weathered hurricane damage better than previously estimated.\Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 261,000 in October, a pickup from the prior month, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate declined to 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000. Economists expected 315,000 new jobs and a 4.2% unemployment rate last month. Wages rose 2.4% from a year earlier, a slowdown from last month.September's payrolls data, initially reported as the first drop in seven years, were revised to show employers actually created 18,000 new jobs that month, extending the economy's streak of job gains to a record 85 straight months.
The rate at which workers quit their jobs—seen by many economists as a sign of confidence in the labor market—fell slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.1% in August from 2.2% in July, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as Jolts, released Wednesday.
The quits rate, or the share of employed people who voluntarily leave their jobs in a month, has held nearly steady for two years after slowly climbing after the recession ended in mid-2009. The sideways move in the quits rate comes at a time when the unemployment rate has fallen to a 16-year low and the number of available jobs has touched the highest level on records back to 2000.
The country shed 33,000 jobs in September, the first loss in seven years, the Labor Department said Friday, ending the longest stretch of job growth on record.
But that decline was skewed down by Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in late August, and Irma, which hit Florida in early September. The storms came just before businesses filled out monthly surveys of payrolls, which are submitted to the government and used to tabulate hiring. Many businesses reported reduced payrolls during the survey week of Sept. 12. Employment in the restaurant industry, in particular, took a big hit, falling 105,000 in September from the month before, after averaging growth of 29,000 during the prior six months.
Weakness in the labor market doesn’t adequately explain why fewer men are working or seeking jobs, according to a new paper published by economist Scott Winship and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. One big contributor is the rising number of men in their prime working years–aged 25 to 54–who are getting federal disability benefits, or report being disabled, and who are not actively searching for jobs, Mr. Winship concludes. This suggests there is less slack in the labor market—such as people who could be drawn in off the sidelines—than many policy makers believe.