Job openings fall to lowest level in nearly two years

(CN) – American businesses posted 6.8 million job openings in November, a sharp decline from the month before and the lowest number since February 2018.

The decrease of 561,000 open jobs between October and November shows employer demand is on the decline, according to Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed Hiring Lab.

“For job seekers, things are still good — but don’t expect things to get better. If you are in the position to take advantage, do it now and don’t let this opportunity pass you by,” Bunker wrote.

Job openings have still outpaced the number of unemployed Americans for nearly two years, a trend that began in March 2018. With 5.8 million unemployed Americans, there are about 1 million more available positions than jobless people.

There were 5.8 million new hires in November, the same as the month before. The number of people quitting their jobs also held steady at 3.5 million.

“Previously, job openings were declining while hiring seemed more resilient, but with hiring growth flattening out, the decline in openings becomes more concerning,” Bunker said.

Government job postings dropped by 42,000 in November, according to a Labor Department report released Friday.

In the private sector, the biggest losses were in trade, transportation and utilities, where openings fell by 246,000, and in the construction industry, which had 112,000 fewer postings. Employers also advertised 59,000 fewer manufacturing jobs and there were 12,000 fewer openings in the leisure and hospitality sector.

Meanwhile, there were 52,000 more open jobs in education and health services in November. The information sector gained 10,000.

The record high of 7.63 million job openings was set in November 2018.