This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 16 October 2021

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Oct 22, 2021

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 16 October 2021

The first economic data released this week in the United States reinforced the theme that labor supply and demand are struggling to come into balance. Total job openings declined modestly in August, but at 10.4 million, they remain roughly 50% above their pre-COVID levels. Despite the decline, a few sectors saw job openings increase, such as transportation, warehousing and utilities. Perhaps more interesting, the quit rate jumped 0.2 percentage points in August and hit the highest level on record (see chart). Quits increased the most in accommodation & food services, which makes sense given that significant upward pressure on wages in that industry is likely keeping competition for workers intense. A high quit rate is typically a sign that workers are confident they can voluntarily leave their current job and find gainful employment elsewhere. Based off of the weak labor supply numbers in last week's September employment report, we doubt the September job openings and labor turnover data to be released next month will show supply and demand reaching any kind of balance. As we have written before, we expect the labor supply picture to resolve slowly over time rather than all at once




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