In August, the number of available jobs in the US fell compared to July, indicating that businesses may pull back further on hiring and possibly cool chronically high inflation.
The government said on Tuesday that there were 10.1 million advertised jobs on the last day of August, down a huge 10 per cent from 11.2 million openings in July. The number of job openings had hit a new record of 11.9 million in March.
Layoffs went up in August, but they remained at a historically low level. The Federal Reserve will welcome the drop in job openings. The high level of openings is a sign of strong labour demand that has compelled employers to raise pay to attract and keep workers, according to Fed officials.
Smaller pay raises, if sustained, should ease inflationary pressures. In order to combat the worst inflation in 40 years, the central bank has raised its key short-term interest rate to a range of 3 per cent to 3.25 per cent, up sharply from nearly zero as recently as March.
Chair Jerome Powell and other Fed officials hope that their interest rate hikes - the fastest in nearly four decades - will cause employers to pull back on their efforts to hire more people. There is a chance that less job openings could reduce the pressure on companies to raise pay to attract and keep workers.
Tuesday's figures arrive the same week that a key report on jobs and the unemployment rate is due to be released Friday. In September, employers added 250,000 jobs and the unemployment rate remained 3.7 per cent for a second straight month, according to economists.