WASHINGTON | U.S. employers advertised fewer job openings in August and kept hiring flat, another sign the American jobs market has lost strength since spring.
The Labor Department reported Friday that job openings slid to 5.4 million in August from a record high 5.7 million in July. Hiring was little-changed at 5.1 million.
The number of people quitting jobs — a measure of confidence in the job market — was also essentially unchanged from July at 2.7 million. Quits have been flat for the past year after rising steadily in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.
The job market has weakened the past two months, reflecting slower global economic growth. Cautious employers added just 142,000 jobs in September, pulling hiring for the July-September quarter down to a lackluster 167,000 jobs a month from an average 231,000 from April through June.
In August, the United States had 1.5 unemployed people for every job opening, down from a peak of 6.8 in July 2009, a month after the recession ended. Unemployment was 5.1 percent in August and September.
“The labor market is coming off the boil a little,” Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research report. But the level of job openings reported Friday is still healthy, “so this is hardly a disaster.”