The number of job openings declined across almost all industries in February from this time last year, according to new government data.
Why it matters: Employers took a chill pill, and the hiring frenzy we saw over the past two years is fading out a bit.
Details: The industries with the biggest pullbacks in job openings are ones that had an easier time staffing up in the ultra-hot labor market — like white-collar business services.
- Those professional sectors take a longer-term outlook when it comes to hiring, says Nick Bunker, head of economic research at the jobs site Indeed.
- A consulting or media firm might see a slowdown in demand ahead, leading it to cut down on open positions. Restaurants, on the other hand, don't operate like that.
"Industries tied to the prospect of future growth, they're pulling back the most," Bunker says.
The big picture: There are still many more job openings now than there were in February 2020. And this isn't the same job market we had back then.
- Notably, workers are still quitting their jobs at historically high levels, as Axios Macro reported. And layoffs are also at historically low levels (with the tech industry being a notable exception).
- "[S]ome labor market dynamics may be permanently altered in the post-pandemic world," Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, wrote in a note. "Employee quits seem to be permanently higher, and layoffs permanently lower, than was normal in the twenty years before the pandemic."
- "In other words, workers seem to have more control over when and how they switch jobs."
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