The United States is in a jobs boom. This was apparent in the newly released jobs report on Tuesday, showing that the U.S. employers notified the maximum number of open jobs in December, which is a 20-year record, highest since 2000.
The boom is an indication of the resilience of the job market despite challenges being faced by the economy.
The Labor Department released the Jobs report and highlighted the nearly 2.4 percent surge in job openings in December that amounted to 7.3 million jobs.
This was not only the highest since December 2000 but also exceeded the 6. 3 million number of unemployed in that month.
The report showed how bullish is businesses that stepped up hiring despite many tailwinds hitting the economy.
The non-farm payroll data that came in early February also showed despite many problems, employers added 304,000 jobs in January, highest in nearly a year.
These jobs were added despite a plethora of problems which included a 35-day partial government shutdown, falling growth in export markets such as China, Europe, and Japan.
Robust hiring ahead
The December surge in job openings is also an indication that recruitments will remain robust. It takes an average one to 2 months to fill up vacancies. It also reflects the optimism of businesses that see healthy demand ahead and want to add more employees.
Tuesday’s data also held out some clear trends—while employers increased hiring in December, the number of people quitting jobs remained unchanged. This was a healthy 3.5 million. More people leaving jobs do indicate the presence of a dynamic job market that offers better openings.
With job openings exceeding the number of unemployed, businesses face the challenge of having to pay more to employees to hire and retain the right talent.
Industries with the biggest increases in job openings also covered many lower-paying sectors. Restaurants and hotels notified more than 1 million jobs, higher than the 84,000 jobs they had in November.
Health care sector scaled up the number of jobs from 79,000 to 1.2 million as compared to November.
In many highly paid industries such as professional and business services, the number of job openings soared from 82,000 to 1.34 million.
However, the manufacturing sector saw a decline in the number of jobs. There some 67,000 jobs were lost. A similar decline was recorded in retail and financial services.
Economist not so upbeat on jobs outlook
However, the rationale of jobs boom from an economist’s point of view gives room for some anxiety on slower growth in 2019. “The economy accelerated in 2018 and employment with it for a pretty simple and obvious reason: We had a pretty big fiscal stimulus,” commented Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura Securities International Inc. in New York.
Alexander warns that boost from fiscal policy will not sustain long and fears effects of a slowdown in economic growth may take a toll on employment growth.