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US job openings dip to 9.6 million, lowest since 2021

May 2, 2023, 7:13 AM

A hiring sign seeking bus drivers is posted in Palatine, Ill., Wednesday, April 19, 2023. On Tuesda...

A hiring sign seeking bus drivers is posted in Palatine, Ill., Wednesday, April 19, 2023. On Tuesday, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for March.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings fell in March to the lowest level in nearly two years, a sign that the American labor market is cooling in the face of higher interest rates.

Employers posted 9.6 million vacancies in March, down from nearly 10 million in February. Layoffs rose to the highest level since December 2020, the Labor Department reported Tuesday,

The American job market is strong but losing momentum. The Federal Reserve has raised its benchmark interest rate nine times in just over a year in a bid to rein in inflation that last year hit a four-decade high. And higher borrowing costs are taking an economic toll.

The job market is strong but losing momentum.

Monthly job openings had never exceeded 10 million until 2021, then reeled off 20 straight months above that threshold. The streak ended in February.

The Labor Department on Friday releases the jobs report for last month. Forecasters surveyed by the data firm FactSet expect that employers added fewer than 182,000 jobs last month, the third straight monthly drop since payrolls rose by a robust 472,000 in January.

The unemployment rate is expected to blip up to 3.6% in April, a couple of notches above January’s half-century low 3.4%

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US job openings dip to 9.6 million, lowest since 2021