Report: The number of open U.S. jobs is at a two-year low

There are now 1.5 available jobs for every one unemployed person

The number of job openings across the country dipped below the 9 million mark for the first time since March 2021.

There were 8.827 million openings in July, down from 9.165 in June, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means there are 1.5 available jobs for every unemployed person. That measure was at 2 to 1 at its high point in 2022.

According to the BLS, “Over the month, job openings decreased in professional and business services (-198,000); health care and social assistance (-130,000); state and local government, excluding education (-67,000); state and local government education (-62,000); and federal government (-27,000). By contrast, job openings increased in information (+101,000) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+75,000).”

The number and rate of total separations – voluntary, layoffs, and discharges – in July were little changed at 5.5 million and 3.5%, respectively, adds the BLS.

But, the new report also shows that workers were less likely to voluntarily leave their jobs. The so-called “quits rate” dropped to 2.3%, also a two-year low.

Economists say fewer vacancies and greater labor force participation are leading to slower wage growth which could mean a pause in interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.