U.S. Job Openings in June Shatters Previous Record By 600K, Record Low Also Laid Off

The U.S. saw a record 10.1 million job openings in June, shattering May's previous record by 600,000 new positions, in addition to a record low number of people laid off, the Labor Department reported Monday.

The increasing job openings point to a recovering economy following last year's COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. However, there is a gap between job openings and the amount of workers filling those jobs. In June, 6.7 million were hired by employers compared to 6 million in May where there were 9.5 million new job openings.

"Our labor force is healing, our economy is reopening, and people are getting back to work, but we still have a way to go," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh in a statement Friday. "Economic recovery depends on our commitment to public health, so I urge every eligible person to get vaccinated against COVID-19 who has not done so already. It's how to protect yourself, protect your family, and help our economy move forward."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Now Hiring Sign Posted
A record U.S. job openings in June shattered May's previous record by 600,000 as the country also saw a record low amount of layoffs in June. In this photo, A 'Now Hiring' sign is posted at a 7-Eleven store on August 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images

The gap between openings and hiring suggests that firms are scrambling to find workers. Lingering health fears, difficulty getting childcare at a time when many schools are closed and expanded federal jobless aid may have kept some unemployed Americans from seeking work.

Still, hiring (up nearly 12 percent) grew faster than job openings (up 6 percent), narrowing the mismatch. In a research report, Contingent Macro Advisors suggested that "this report might offer the first sign that headwinds like generous unemployment benefits and childcare issues for parents might finally be abating, allowing people to get back to work.''

The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, showed that nearly 3.9 million workers quit their jobs in June, a sign of confidence in their prospects of getting a better one. The June quits number was just shy of the record 4 million, set in April.

The U.S. economy has rebounded with unexpected strength as the rollout of vaccines allows businesses to reopen or expand hours and encourages cooped-up Americans to get out again and visit restaurants, bars and shops. Still, the fast-spreading Delta variant has cast a shadow over the outlook. Daily cases are averaging more than 100,000, up from fewer than 12,000 in late June but down around 250,000 in early January.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the economy generated 943,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent from 5.9 percent in June.

Now Hiring Sign in Virginia
A Now Hiring sign at a business in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. Steve Helber/AP Photo