The green light! Go! Curry’s restaurant has a sign in the window reading “We Are Hiring” in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 8, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Job openings jumped in September despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to ease a historically tight labor market that has helped fuel the highest inflation figures in four decades.
Job openings for the month totaled 10.72 million, well above the FactSet estimate of 9.85 million, according to Tuesday’s data from the Job Openings and Job Turnover Survey. Bureau of Labor Statistics staff.
The total eclipsed August’s upwardly revised level of nearly half a million.
Fed policymakers are watching the JOLTS report closely for labor market clues. The latest figures are unlikely to dissuade central bank officials from approving what will likely be a fourth straight interest rate hike of 0.75 percentage points this week.
September data indicates that there are 1.9 job offers for every available worker. The disparity in supply and demand has helped fuel a rise in wages in which the employment cost index, another closely watched data point for the Fed, is rising at an annual rate of about 5 %.
In other economic news on Tuesday, the ISM manufacturing index posted a reading of 50.2, representing the percentage of companies reporting expansion for October. That was slightly better than the Dow Jones estimate for 50.0 but 0.9 percentage points lower than in September.
Good news from the ISM data: the price index fell another 5.1 points to 46.6, indicating an easing of inflationary pressures. Order books also fell, falling 5.6 points to 45.3, while supplier deliveries fell 5.6 points to 46.8 and employment rose slightly to 50.
The number of hirings remained solid, even if it is slowing down.
Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report for October is expected to show growth of another 205,000, which, while strong by historical levels, would represent further deceleration after average gains of 444,000 for the first half of 2022 but 372,000 over the past three months.
Hiring fell by 252,000 in September, while quits fell slightly. The total number of job separations fell sharply, falling by almost 400,000 to a rate of 3.7% as a proportion of the labor force, compared to 4% in August.
Respondents to the ISM survey indicated that various pressures continue, while decreasing in other areas.
“Labour and parts delivery challenges are easing. Order levels are slowing after pent-up demand the previous month,” said a transportation equipment industry respondent.
Another, in the food, beverage and tobacco sector, noted that “the growing threat of recession is forcing many customers to significantly slow down their orders. Additionally, global uncertainty regarding the (war) Russia- Ukraine influences global commodity markets”.
The Fed releases its rate decision Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET. Markets are pricing in a nearly 90% chance of a 0.75 percentage point rise, while narrowly expecting another 0.5 percentage point move in December, according to data from the CME Group.