The U.S. labor market has been losing steam in recent months, with job openings and resignations both declining, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In August, the number of job openings declined by 32,000 to 6.26 million, the lowest figure since September 2018. Over the same period, the number of people quitting their jobs fell by 111,000 to 3.03 million, the weakest reading since February 2019.
The figures suggest that the job market may be cooling off after a strong start to the year, when the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in more than 50 years and millions of Americans rejoined the labor force.
The data highlights the risk that businesses are becoming increasingly hesitant to hire new workers as the economic recovery plateaus and the pandemic lingers. Risk aversion could further hamper hiring, putting further pressure on the labor market and overall economy.