US job openings rose to a record high in June
But many jobless workers are facing complexities. Some continue to struggle with finding child care, while others are concerned about the risk of contracting the virus at work.
“If we want to sustain our economic recovery, we have to get serious about removing barriers to filling these open jobs,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer of the US Chamber of Commerce.
Specifically, Bradley added, “that includes addressing childcare needs, rightsizing unemployment programs, skills training, and increasing legal immigration.”
Economists expect that at least the child care aspect will be addressed when schools reopen in person after the summer. But the rampant spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant is adding exposure risk. Meanwhile, the generous pandemic-era unemployment benefits that have already ceased in multiple states will run out in September, which could affect the rate of hiring as well.
Hires, layoffs and voluntary quits
In June, the number of hires rose to 6.7 million, particularly due to increased activity in retail and education.
The layoff rate was unchanged at 0.9%, the lowest level on record and flat from May, while the voluntary separation rate rose to 2.7%.
That said, the overall jobless rate is just one measure of the labor market. Participation rates are still down and even though unemployment sank across most demographic groups in July, it remains higher for Black, Hispanic and Asian workers.