WASHINGTON – U.S. employers advertised more jobs but hired fewer workers in July, sending mixed signals about the job market in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the number of U.S. job postings on the last day of July rose to 6.6 million from 6 million at the end of June. A year earlier, employers posted 7.2 million job openings.
Hiring dropped to 5.8 million from 7 million in June. The number of Americans laid off or discharged fell to 1.7 million from nearly 2 million in June.
“Overall, this report confirmed a continued but decelerating recovery for the labor market,” Contingent Macro Advisors said in a research note.
The government reported last Friday that the U.S. economy generated 1.4 million new jobs in August, down from 1.7 million in July and 4.8 million in June. The U.S. has recovered just under half the 22 million jobs lost when the pandemic hit the country hard in March and April, forcing businesses to close at least temporarily.
More than 2.9 million quit their jobs in July, up from 2.6 million in June. The uptick was unusual because people are usually reluctant to leave jobs when the job market is weak. But some people appear to be staying home to avoid infections and others are taking care of children who can't go back to school because of the pandemic.
The job listing website Indeed reports that job postings in late August were running 20% below a year earlier. Listings at hospitality and tourism companies were running 47% below last year, Indeed found.
This story has been corrected to show that more than 2.9 million people quit their jobs in July, not nearly 3.4 million.