The Go! Go! Curry restaurant has a sign in the window reading “We Are Hiring” in Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 8, 2022.
Brian Snyder | Reuters
Job openings surged in September despite Federal Reserve efforts aimed at loosening up a historically tight labor market that has helped feed the highest inflation readings in four decades.
Employment openings for the month totaled 10.72 million, well above the FactSet estimate for 9.85 million, according to data Tuesday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
The total eclipsed August’s upwardly revised level by nearly half a million.
Fed policymakers watch the JOLTS report closely for clues about the labor market. The latest numbers are unlikely to sway central bank officials from approving what likely will be a fourth consecutive 0.75 percentage point interest rate increase this week.
September’s data indicates that there are 1.9 job openings for every available worker. The disparity in supply and demand has helped fuel a wage increase in which the employment cost index, another closely watched data point for the Fed, is growing at about a 5% annual pace.
In other economic news Tuesday, the ISM Manufacturing Index posted a 50.2 reading, representing the percent of companies reporting expansion for October. That was slightly better than the Dow Jones estimate for 50.0 but 0.9 percentage points lower than September.
One good piece of news from the ISM data: The prices index fell another 5.1 points to a 46.6 reading, indicating a lessening of inflation pressures. Order backlogs also declined, falling 5.6 points to a 45.3 reading, while supplier deliveries fell 5.6 points to 46.8 and employment edged higher to 50.