Job openings were little changed while remaining abundant at 6.662 million in June versus an upwardly revised 6.659 million in May. Year-on-year, the number of job openings was up 8.8 percent. The number of hires remained well below job openings at 5.651 million in June, down from May's 5.747 million, while separations, which includes quits, layoffs and discharges, rose to 5.502 million from 5.419 million.
Within separations, the quits rate remained unchanged from May at 2.3 percent, while layoffs and discharges rose by 0.1 percentage points to 1.2 percent.
The job openings rate, representing the number of job openings as a percent of total employment plus job openings, remained unchanged at 4.3 percent. It was the highest, at 5.5 percent, in the accommodation and food services and the health care and social assistance industries.
The hires rate, which is the number of hires as a percent of total employment, rose by 0.1 percentage points in June to 3.7 percent. Within industry groups, arts, entertainment, and recreation posted the highest hires rate at 7.4 percent, followed by 6.4 percent in health care and social assistance.
With hires over the last 12 months totaling 66.6 million and separations 64.1 million, the year-on-year employment gain was 2.5 million.
While employment growth continued at a robust pace, job openings exceeded hires by more than 1 million in June, illustrating that employers have increasing difficulties in filling positions and underscoring warnings from Federal Reserve's beige book that a lack of skilled workers is holding down expansion.
The number of job openings has moved ahead of the number of unemployed for the first time on record. At a consensus 6.650 million, forecasters see job openings in June edging higher from May's total of 6.638 million. The quits rate of this report has also been moving higher, suggesting that workers are growing more confident and are on the hunt for higher pay.