Employers added 590,000 job openings as of the end of June, reaching 10.1 million, according to the Labor Department’s latest JOLTS report. This is 44% higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Hiring also rose to reach 6.7 million new hires in June versus 5.9 million in May.
"This is another sign of just how strong demand for workers is... it doesn't look like we'll see any significant slowdown in the months ahead," Nick Bunker, director of research at Indeed, told Yahoo Money. "The bargaining power is tilted more towards workers now than it has been in the recent past."
The largest job openings gains were in professional and business services, which added 227,00 available positions in June. Additionally, retail and trade added 133,00 job openings while accommodation and food services increased postings by 121,000.
The rate of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs — a sign of workers' confidence — increased to 2.7%. That level is well above the pandemic-era low of 1.6% in April 2020.
"Workers are taking advantage of this really strong level of demand," Bunker said. "If you want to switch jobs. If you want to renegotiate for a raise. If you want to try out something new, the iron is hot, it's time to strike it."
Accommodation and food services had the largest quit rate in June of 5.7% — unchanged from May — followed by retail trade's 4.1% quit rate, which is up from May. Quits levels in both industries are well above their pre-pandemic levels.
The number of unemployed workers per job opening also fell to 0.9 in June, a significant drop from its peak of 5 unemployed workers per job opening in April 2020. At the same time, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges remained at the series lows of 1.4 million and 0.9%, respectively.
While the reopening of the broader economy and increase in jobs in leisure and hospitality and retail trade have driven much of the demand it is unclear how long will those levels remain elevated, according to Bunker.
"Right now, [what is keeping the demand high] seems to be the reopening phase of labor demand," he said said. "The question is a couple of months down the line... who's going to be doing the hiring? Who's going to be putting up new job openings that lead to a stronger position for job seekers?"