Likely to reassure policymakers that the US labour market continues to moderate, with all eyes turning to Friday’s payroll and earnings data.
The pace of US job openings, as measured by the JOLT survey (Job Openings and Labour Turnover), decreased in November, with 8.79 million vacancies against 8.85 million the previous month – statistically almost irrelevant month-on-month given the survey’s somewhat limited uptake by employers these days. Still, with many positions unfilled in the overall labour, this report is not bearish on the overall health of the market. However, the downward rate of decline since the start of 2022 is signalling something and that is the gangbuster rate of employment creation of the last two years is continually easing.
By extension this will please the Federal Reserve (Fed) that the pressures of hot wage inflation of last year are perhaps dissipating. We will know more with the Friday release of non-farm employment change and average hourly earnings – something the Fed will be laser-focussed on if they are to start the ball rolling (or not) with rate cuts this year.
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