The number of jobs available in the United States rose in September, surprising economists who had expected the total to fall amid the Federal Reserve’s aggressive move to cool the economy.
Job openings rose to 10.7 million, up from 10.3 million reported in August, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.
Economists had forecast job openings to fall to 10 million in September, according to Refinitiv estimates.
Accommodation and food services were the ones that registered the largest number of new jobs, along with health and social assistance, and transport, storage and public services, according to the Survey of Job Offers and Labor Rotation.
In September there were about 1.9 open positions for every person looking for work, up from 1.7 in August. This ratio has become important as the Federal Reserve tries to reduce inflation, which remains high. When jobs are plentiful and workers are scarce, employees have the ability to ask for higher wages, putting upward pressure on inflation.
Despite the strong headline figure, however, the report also showed signs of cooling in the labor market: Hires fell to just under 6.1 million, their lowest level since February 2021; and resignations fell to less than 4.1 million, the second-lowest level seen all year. Layoffs fell to 1.3 million from a revised 1.5 million.