There's plenty of help-wanted signs but still too few qualified applicants. Job openings in March totaled 5.743 million, up from a revised 5.682 million in February and well ahead of hirings which totaled 5.260 million.
Professional & business services, where employers often turn to first when they can't fill staff themselves, shows a strong rise in openings, to 1.1 million for a 26,000 gain. But hirings for this component are down, 55,000 lower to 989,000 and pointing perhaps to hiring delays but also to lack of strong candidates. Manufacturing shows a 30,000 monthly rise to 394,000 openings with hirings up 26,000 to 322,000. Government also shows a strong gain for openings, up 33,000 to 537,000 and led by state & local education.
This report is consistent with tight conditions in the labor market and hints at the risk, at least for skilled workers, of wage inflation ahead.
Job openings in the JOLTS report are expected to edge slightly lower, to a consensus 5.725 million in March vs a very strong 5.743 million in February. Job openings have been very high and have been well ahead of hiring, suggesting that employers are having a hard time finding the right candidates with the right skills.