The number of US job openings sharply narrowed by about half a million positions in April, a sign that demand for labor may now be narrowing for a number of businesses.
The Labor Department released its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) on Wednesday which showed the number of job openings in April fell by approximately 455,000 positions.
Job openings remain near record highs at 11.4 million, with 4.4 million Americans quitting or changing jobs — slightly less than the 4.5 million workers who quit their jobs in March.
There is a labor gap of 5.46 million between openings and the available workers.
“The outlook for hiring remains strong as job openings remain elevated, even if their growth has slowed in recent months,” Nick Bunker, economic research director for the Indeed Hiring Lab, said in a note, according to CBS News. “Workers are having their moment in the sun, but some clouds are likely to come along and darken the outlook.”
For the better part of a year, there has been a labor shortage across the country that has put employers in a bind. With demand sharply rising during this period, the labor shortage was widely credited with contributing to higher inflation in the economy.
These numbers arrive as the Federal Reserve continues to signal it will maintain a hawkish stance on interest rates.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has previously warned that the labor market was “tight to an unhealthy level,” given the imbalance between labor demand and supply. Powell has maintained that his ultimate goal remains a restoration of achieving price stability, but he cautioned that this may require more “involuntary churn” in the labor market.
“There’s a path by which we would be able to have moderate demand in the labor market” without causing a recession,” Powell said in early May after approving a half-point interest rate hike. “It’s not going to be easy. And it may well depend, of course, on events that are not under our control.”