(Bloomberg) – Vacancies in the United States rose more than expected in June to a new record, highlighting persistent struggles by companies to hire enough workers to keep up with the recovery in economic activity.
The number of available positions rose to 10.1 million during the month, from the 9.5 million revised upward in May, a Labor Department survey revealed on Monday. Economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast an increase to 9.27 million job openings.
Faced with a setback in consumer demand for services like travel and dining out, employers have struggled to fill a multitude of job vacancies, but the supply of labor remains restricted. Ongoing child care obligations, health problems, and improving unemployment benefits have kept some Americans from returning to the workforce.
The job supply is expected to increase in the coming months as supplemental federal unemployment benefits expire and schools reopen. However, the fast-spreading delta variant could delay more significant progress in workforce participation if growing health concerns prompt Americans to postpone their return to work.
The number of vacancies surpassed hiring by 3.4 million in June, a slightly smaller gap from the record seen a month earlier. The number of people who voluntarily quit their jobs rose to 3.9 million in the month and the quit rate rose to 2.7%.
Job openings increased in several industries, led by professional and business services, retail, and lodging and food services.
Total hires rose to 6.7 million in June, while the hiring rate increased to 4.6%. Hiring gains were led by retail, state and local education, and durable goods manufacturing. Licenses and layoffs registered little change.
Figures from the Labor Department lag behind the government’s monthly employment report. That report, released last week, showed that US payrolls rose by 943,000 in July, the most in nearly a year, suggesting that companies were successful in filling job vacancies last month.