Job openings climb to near-record in October as labor shortage persists

The ‘Great Resignation’: Why 4.4M workers quit their jobs in September

Delivering Happiness CEO Jenn Lim on people leaving their jobs and what it means to be happy.

U.S. job openings unexpectedly climbed to a near-record high in October, as employers struggled to attract new workers amid an ongoing labor shortage.

The Labor Department said Wednesday there were 11.03 million job openings in October, the highest number of openings since July, when businesses were looking to fill 11.1 million positions. It marked an increase from September when there were an upwardly revised 10.6 million open jobs. 

Accommodation and food services – one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic – accounted for a bulk of the job openings jump with 254,000 new available positions as the delta variant of COVID-19 showed signs of slowing down nationwide.

The government report, known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, also showed the number of people quitting their jobs fell slightly in October to 4.2 million, from 4.4 million in September. While it's still the third-highest number of monthly resignations on record, the decline suggests that the so-called "Great Resignation" is losing steam. 

There were just 7.4 million Americans counted as unemployed in October, meaning there are roughly 3.6 million more available jobs than there are available workers. As a result, businesses are chasing down workers to fill the empty slots – meaning that job-seekers have more bargaining power than they've had in decades.

Wages are rising at a healthy pace, although the highest inflation in decades has eaten away at some of those gains.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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