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Job Openings a Surprise “JOLT” Higher

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that job openings rose from 8.92 million in July to 9.61 million in August. This was an unexpected move higher, as job openings had been declining every month since April. Professional and business service positions accounted for a large share of openings.

What’s the bottom line? Despite the monthly increase, job openings are down almost 6% when compared to the same time last year. Plus, the reported total for this August is likely overstated. The increase in working from home means job listings are being posted in multiple states more frequently. As a result, they’re being overcounted in the JOLTS total.

The Fed also follows this report closely for signs of labor sector weakness. Will they look deeper than the headline figure as they consider further rate hikes?