The US job market currently remains stable with workers being in demand in multiple industries, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau reported that the number of available jobs in the US rose in December to an estimated 9.026 million.
The data specifically came from the Bureau’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report, according to CNN. The December data marks the first time job openings exceeded 9 million since September.
Economists were surprised by this as the additional jobs have outpaced November’s 8.925 million jobs, which initially led them to believe December would see around 8.7 million jobs added.
“We’re back over the 9 million mark, which is a three-month high, and the bulk of the gains were in the private sector,” Jennifer Lee, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, wrote.
“So the good news is that there are options out there — if one is still unemployed or is looking for extra work. The bad news is that it means that the consumer could spend more, and that’s not what the Fed wants right now,” she added.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell discussed that the labor market has “remained robust but in better balance” than it was during the initial years of the pandemic. In early 2022, job openings reached above 12 million.
The Bureau noted that other aspects in the Survey report “changed little” from months previous, which could be an indication of the labor market slowing down.
“We’re all trying to figure out whether we’re going to manage a soft landing [of tamed inflation without significant job losses],” Fiona Greig, global head of investor research and policy at Vanguard, told CNN.
“There’s no doubt that the level of openings is still exceeding pre-pandemic times [of 7 million]. The labor market isn’t as tight as, say, a year ago; but it is still strong,” she added.
In December, layoffs increased to 1.616 million from 1.531 million the month before, which is still well below pre-pandemic averages.
Tech, media, and transportation industries are seeing massive layoffs, leading to a lack of employee confidence for those in the field. According to research published by Glassdoor, their recorded employee confidence index dropped in January to 45.6%, a record-low.
“This is a reflection of increasing fear around job security among employees,” Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s lead economist, told CNN.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.