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JOLTS: Can Government Hiring Prop Up This Economy?

Private Sector Job Openings Dropped 5% Month-Over-Month; Still Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Levels 


The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the US economy had 8.5 million job openings in the month of March. The decline from 8.8 million the previous month was cushioned by a surge in government job openings, while private sector openings dropped by nearly half a million, down by 5% in a single month. The number of hires remained little changed at 5.5 million while total separations decreased to 5.2 million. 


“Private sector employers are holding their cards, waiting to see which way the economy moves,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, RedBalloon CEO and longtime pioneer in labor market data analytics. “Small business owner sentiment took quite a turn about two months ago, moving from cautious optimism about growth to a much more defensive stance. Employers told us they are shelving hiring plans and reserving cash. That sentiment is reflected in today’s numbers, as private sector job demand fell by 5% in a single month. Still, job openings remain elevated above pre-pandemic levels as other factors, such as the people shortage and baby-boomer retirements impact the labor force.” 


Private sector demand declined from 7,894,000 to 7,530,00 month over month. Additionally, workers are staying put as separations have also declined from 5,203,000 to 4,866,000 month over month.  

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