US job openings hit a fresh record in June amid reports the country continues to face a labor shortage.
Job vacancies jumped by 590,000 to 10.1 million on the last day of the month, according to figures from the Labor Department. That was up from a record 9.5 million openings in May and well above economists’ expectations.
It comes as companies struggle to find workers in sectors such as leisure and hospitality as the economy reopens.
“The ratio of openings to hires, despite easing in June, remained at historically elevated levels,” JPMorgan analyst Peter McCrory said.
US unemployment surged to 14.8% at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but the economy has been recovering strongly this year. Some also believe there are too many low-skilled jobs being advertised, and not enough suitable candidates.
Official unemployment figures in July suggested the country might be turning a corner, as employment rose by 943,000. The unemployment rate also fell 0.5 percentage points to 5.4%. However, the figures mainly pre-date the rise of the Delta variant of Covid in the US, which has led to a surge in infections and fears new restrictions could be imposed. Already New York City has said all customers and staff of restaurants, gyms, and other indoor businesses will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
And the city’s Auto Show, scheduled to run from 20 to 29 August, has been canceled due to fears about rising infection rates.