U.S. Job Openings and Quits Both Set Record-Highs in March
May 3, 2022
The “Great Resignation” is still going strong as the number of job openings and the number of workers quitting their jobs both set new records in March. This tight labor market is driving historic wage gains, adding to inflationary pressure.
There were a seasonally adjusted 11.5 million job openings in March, an all-time high, according to the Labor Department. That’s an increase from 11.3 million in the previous month and higher than the previous record of 11.4 million in December of last year.
The number of job openings continues to far exceed the number of job seekers, and in March, there were nearly two available jobs for every worker seeking employment.
The number of workers who voluntarily left their jobs rose to 4.5 million in March, also a new record, topping the previous high-water mark set in November. Meanwhile, the pace of hiring cooled slightly from the month before, falling to 6.7 million hires in March.
With the labor market so tight, employers have had to raise wages to compete for workers. Hourly wages grew at a 6% pace in March, the highest on record from data that goes back to 1997, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
Employers offset their higher labor costs by raising prices for consumers, and even with historic wage gains, the rate of inflation has outpaced the raises that many workers have gotten.