The Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, otherwise known as JOLTS, recently supplied additional information indicating that America’s job market really is on the mend. The number of unemployed job seekers per open position declined to 2.02 in June, the lowest level since April of 2008. In other words, the chances of finding a job have gone up. The ratio was 2.14 in May and is now actually below the average sustained from 2002 to 2006.
As reported by Reuters and others, the number of job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased to a seasonally adjusted 4.67 million in June, the highest level since February 2001. The pace of hiring its now at its highest level since February 2008. What’s more, job growth has exceeded 200,000 during each of the past 6 months, a winning streak last observed in 1997.
The nation’s unemployment rate stands at 6.2 percent. It started the year at 6.7 percent. There is even evidence suggesting that the quality of jobs being added is improving, with job growth in mid-wage and high-wage segments accelerating recently. While a tighter job market is most welcome, nothing is purely beneficial. Ongoing labor market improvement could eventually trigger inflation and higher interest rates for borrowers.