© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage for a job fair is seen on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 3, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
WASHINGTON(Reuters) – U.S. job openings fell in April, but still remained at considerably high levels, suggesting that wages would continue to rise as companies try to attract workers, and contribute to inflation staying uncomfortably high for a while.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, declined by 455,000 to 11.4 million on the last day of April, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, on Wednesday. The decrease pulled job openings down from a record high of 11.855 million in March.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 11.4 million vacancies. The JOLTS data is being closely watched by Federal Reserve officials, who have adopted an aggressive monetary policy stance in their fight to bring inflation down to its 2% target.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell last month described job openings as “extraordinarily high,” and said “there’s a path by which we would be able to have demand moderate in the labor market and therefore have vacancies come down without unemployment going up.” The jobless rate held at a two-year low of 3.6% in April.
The Fed has increased its policy interest rate by 75 basis points since March. It is expected to hike the overnight rate by half a percentage point at each of its next meetings this month and in July.