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Job openings decline as CEOs look to 2023








Mark M Grywacheski

Mark M. Grywacheski


Released each month by the U.S. Department of Labor, the JOLTS, or Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, reports the monthly change in job openings, hires, quits and other employee separations. On Wednesday, the October survey reported 10.3 million non-farm job openings across the nation’s private and government employers. This was slightly below the 10.5 million that Wall Street had forecast.

The current level of 10.3 million job openings is 353,000 below the prior month’s total. Despite the monthly decline, the number of job openings remains historically high. For perspective, in February 2020, the number of job openings was reported at seven million. Moreover, for the sixteenth month in a row, the number of job openings has exceeded 10 million. The record high was 11.9 million set in March.

Of the 11 economic sectors tracked by the Department of Labor, six posted a monthly decline in job openings. The sector with the largest monthly decline was Professional & Business Services, which reported 146,000 fewer job openings. Rounding out the Top 5 largest declines are Government (-138,000), Education & Health Services (-105,000), Manufacturing (-89,000) and Construction (-52,000).

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Geographically, only the west reported an increase in job openings, adding 36,000 in October. The remaining three regions – the south (-210,000), Midwest (-175,000) and northeast (-5,000) – all reported monthly declines.

Since January, the number of job openings across the nation has fallen by 949,000. This reinforces a growing unease among business CEOs on the economic outlook for 2023. A recent survey by The Conference Board, a U.S.-based provider of economic data and analytics, showed 96% of CEOs project a recession within the next 12 months. Consequently, a rapidly expanding list of Fortune 500 companies have either announced layoffs or hiring freezes which should further dent the number of job openings in the months ahead.

By no means is this a doom-and-gloom outlook for the U.S. labor market. On Friday, the Department of Labor reported that 263,000 new jobs were added in November, exceeding Wall Street’s forecast of a 200,000 gain. The nation’s unemployment rate held steady at just 3.7%. That said, the labor market is expected to cool down in 2023. Many experts are projecting the unemployment rate to rise to 4-5% by the end of next year.

High inflation and rising interest rates have already started to wear on the American economy. And as these economic stress cracks continue to widen, that strain should ultimately extend to the U.S. labor market.

Mark Grywacheski is an expert in financial markets and economic analysis and is an investment adviser with Quad-Cities Investment Group, Davenport.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Any prices or quotations contained herein are indicative only and do not constitute an offer to buy or sell any securities at any given price. Information has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but we do not guarantee that the material presented is accurate or that it provides a complete description of the securities, markets or developments mentioned. Quad-Cities Investment Group LLC is a registered investment adviser with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.



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