‘The fact that we’ve got a lot of jobs is a good thing – we wanted that. But the fact that you could create that many jobs in the context of growth that is so low points to a significant problem, and the problem is productivity growth is very low.’ – Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve
US employers posted more open job positions in the second month of the year, official figures revealed on Tuesday. According to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey published by the Labour Department, job openings advanced 2.1% to a seasonally adjusted 5.7M during the reported period, following the preceding month’s 5.6M and surpassing market analysts’ expectations for a decrease to 5.59M. That marked the highest level since July 2016. February’s gain boosted the jobs opening rate to 3.8% after it remained steady at 3.7% for four consecutive months. Nevertheless, hiring fell to 5.3M in February, compared to 5.4M registered in the preceding month. Therefore, the hiring rate dropped to 3.6% from 3.7% in January. Analysts stated that the US labour market is at or close to full employment, with the unemployment rate at a near 10-year low of 4.5%. Monthly job openings are closely followed by the Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, as it is considered as a key barometer of economic conditions and the labour market trends. On Monday, the Fed Chair hinted at two more rate hikes this year, and some analysts suggested that the Fed might want to pull the trigger in June. After the release, the USD/JPY pair dropped to 100.58, its lowest level since November 18.