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US job openings fall below 9 million for the first time since March 2021

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Originally Published: 29 AUG 23 10:08 ET By Alicia Wallace, CNN

Minneapolis (CNN) — The number of available jobs in the United States shrank for the third consecutive month, dropping below 9 million for the first time since early 2021, according to the latest data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 8.827 million, from 9.165 million in June, according to the BLS’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report. It’s the lowest openings total since March 2021.

Economists expected openings would drop to 9.465 million, according to Refinitiv consensus estimates.

The July JOLTS data showed that the number of new hires dropped to 5.773 million from 5.94 million, quits fell to 3.549 million from 3.802 million, and layoffs inched up to 1.555 million from 1.551 million.

The Federal Reserve has been hoping for more slack in the labor market, since an imbalance between worker demand and supply could cause wages to rise and, ultimately, add upward pressure on inflation. The central bank has tried to tame higher prices by ratcheting up interest rates in efforts to throw cold water on demand.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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