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JOLTS: Pessimism Ticks Up, But There is Hope on the Horizon

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) July Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed surprising trends in business outlook. In July, job openings dropped to 8.8 million, down from 9.16 million, which was shockingly lower than the expected 9.4 million openings. June’s job openings were also revised downward from 9.58 million to 9.16 million.

Additionally, quits decreased to 3.5 million, back to pre-pandemic levels, while layoffs and discharges changed little at 1.6 million.

Due to higher interest rates and a competitive labor market, we are seeing signs of businesses bracing for a recession. Yet, while pessimism is rising, businesses aren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Small businesses continue to hire, which is a healthy indicator that their business is doing well. A more detailed look into JOLTS data shows that smaller businesses are still outpacing larger ones when it comes to hiring. “2023 has proven to be the year of the small business as they lead all other industries in hiring once again for this month,” said Andrew Crapuchettes, RedBalloon CEO.

RedBalloon and PublicSq. have just completed a survey of over 50,000 small businesses for August. The survey shows overall business optimism has declined from month to month, while plans to hire have simultaneously ticked upwards.

“We are seeing an emerging trend that despite a negative outlook on the economy, small businesses continue to hire,” Crapuchettes added.

While businesses are far from confident about the economy’s future, they are seeing enough success and projected growth to continue to bring on more employees.

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