Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Job openings in the U.S. dropped to 3.69 million in July, from 3.87 million in the previous month and the lowest level since January, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report released Tuesday.
The data comes after last week’s August payrolls report showing it grew less-than-estimated, an indication that the labor market started slowly in the third quarter.
Payrolls added 169,000 positions last month after expanding 104,000 in July, according to a Sept. 6 report by the Department of Labor. The unemployment rate fell further to 7.3 percent in August, the lowest level since December 2008, due to more workers leaving the labor force.
The number of job openings in July climbed 5.4 percent from a year ago, as private sector openings rose 5.3 percent to 3.28 million, and openings in the government sector advanced to 405,000 from 380,000.
The areas that saw declines in job openings include retailers, construction companies and health service providers. Hiring in manufacturing as well as accommodation and food services increased.
Economic and job market data are being closely watched by U.S Federal Reserve officials, who are set to meet on Sept. 17-18, as they decide to assess whether to trim down their $85bn-a-month bond purchases aimed to spur the economy.