The number of job vacancies decreased in February, falling below 10 million for the first time in nearly two years as an indication that the desire for workers softened despite a still healthy labor market. According to a report published by the Labor Department on Tuesday, there were 9.9 million job opportunities in February, which is a significant drop from the 10.6 million job openings recorded in January.
U.S. Job Openings Fare Lower Than Expected
The number of job openings, which is a measure of labor demand, fell by 632,000 to 9.9 million on the last day of February. This is the lowest level that it has been since May 2021, and turned out worse than what the market had anticipated. However, the number of job openings in February was significantly higher than the reported 5.9 million unemployed individuals seeking work, indicating that the labor market remained tight.
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In spite of the fall, the number of people laid off in February moved lower, and more Americans resigned from their jobs, which is an indication that they are confident of finding employment elsewhere with better pay or working conditions.
Market Demand Amidst Interest Rate Hikes
In the face of dramatically rising interest rates, the U.S. labor market has proven to be durable. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate nine times over the course of the past year in an effort to curb inflation, which reached a four-decade high last year. Since the middle of 2022, the spike in consumer prices has slowed, but they are still much higher than the 2% year-over-year target set by the central bank.
In light of this news, the U.S. stock market showed signs of exhaustion as even after opening higher, both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite have since experienced a decline of 0.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 100 points, which is equivalent to a 0.3% loss. On the other hand, Bitcoin’s price gained marginally at 0.20% and is currently exchanging hands at $238,195.
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