US job openings are the lowest they have been since 2021

    U.S. job openings fell in April to the lowest level since 2021. But they remain at historically strong levels despite high interest rates and signs that the economy is slowing.

    The Labor Department reported Tuesday that employers posted 8.1 million vacancies in April, down from a revised 8.4 million in March.

    Still, layoffs fell, and the number of Americans quitting their jobs—a sign of confidence in their prospects—rose in April.

    Monthly job openings have come down steadily after peaking at 12.2 million in March 2022—as the economy’s recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns left companies desperate for workers. Before 2021, they never topped 8 million—a threshold they have now reached for 38 straight months.

    The high level of job openings reflects a surprisingly strong U.S. labor market. When the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates in March 2022 to combat a resurgence in inflation, the higher borrowing costs were expected to tip the economy into recession and push up unemployment.

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