US Job Openings Tumble to Lowest Level in 2.5 Years as Layoffs Increase

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U.S. employers posted 8.7 million job openings in October, the fewest since March 2021, in a sign that hiring is cooling in the face of higher interest rates.

The Labor Department’s report said Tuesday that openings were down significantly from 9.4 million in September.

The report is bad news for President Joe Biden, who has touted the supposed success of “Bidenomics” as he campaigns for re-election in 2024.

Layoffs were up modestly in October. And the number of Americans who quit their jobs — which generally reflects confidence in their ability to find better pay or working conditions elsewhere — was down slightly.

The drop in job openings last month was particularly steep in health care and social assistance, where they fell by 236,000; finance, which includes banking, insurance and real estate and which has been hit particularly hard by higher interest rates, down 217,000; and hotels, restaurants and bars, down 124,000.

U.S. hiring is slowing from the breakneck pace of the past two years. Still, employers have added a solid 239,000 jobs a month this year. And the unemployment rate has come in below 4 percent for 21 straight months, the longest such streak since the 1960s.

The job market has shown surprising resilience even as the Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate 11 times since March 2022 to fight the worst bout of inflation in four decades.

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