Job openings in the United States increased in March

Although recession fears grow, a government survey released Tuesday showed companies were continuing to hire, with 11.5 million jobs listed as available in March, a record high since monitoring began. unemployment remained low.

The number of “resignations” – a measure of the amount of workers who voluntarily leave their jobs – has also reached a high level, an indicator that many workers are confident they can leave their jobs and find a job that suits their desires. or needs.

The release, from laboratory department, is another indicator of the anomalous nature of the economy as it recovers from the pandemic recession. A recovery in consumer spending and business investment collides with a disorderly reorganization of the supply of goods and labor.

After a sharp rise last year, the number of jobs has stabilized somewhat, although the March reading suggests that the declining amount of coronavirus concerns among some experts and the average consumer, coupled with the lifting of public health restrictions and early summer hiring season: companies’ appetite for more workers are increasing.

Strong demand for workers could be a signal that economic activity could overcome the challenges posed by inflation, which has been at a 40-year high, and the disruption of global supply chains exacerbated by coronavirus outbreaks in Asia and Europe. Oriental. Employers still complain of labor shortages, while many workers – motivated by the discussion of “essential work” during the pandemic and buoyed by excess savings – have bargaining power they haven’t had in decades.

This has led to a tense and politically charged dynamic in which rising wages are a growing concern for businesses large and small as they seek to maintain their profit margins, even as wage increases have not kept pace with price increases. The Federal Reserve is raising the cost of borrowing as part of an effort to cool consumer spending, business lending and worker demand. Markets expect the Fed to announce a strong half percentage point hike in its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday.

“We are learning a lot about how structurally fragile our economy is,” said Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, citing a reliance on “endless low-wage workers and just-in-time supplies of goods” to keep prices down. to consumption for many years.

According to data from the Department of Labor released last week, the Labor Cost Index, which tracks wages and benefits, jumped to the highest level on record in the first quarter of this year.

Layoffs and resignations remained infrequent and relatively stable from the previous month at 1.4 million.