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4.3 Million People Quit Their Jobs in May, Job Openings Drop to 11.3 Million

About 4.3 million people quit their jobs in May at a rate of 2.8%, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number represented little change from the 4.4 million people who quit in April at a rate of 2.9%.

Quits decreased by 33,000 in real estate and rental and leasing, by 19,000 in state and local government education, and by 15,000 in retail trade. Quits increased by 19,000 in arts, entertainment, and recreation.

The total number of separations in May, which includes quits, layoffs and discharges, was 6 million at a rate of 3.9%, marking little change from the the month before. Layoffs and discharges totaled 1.4 million.

As of the last business day of May, the number of job openings decreased to 11.3 million. Hires totaled 6.5 million at an unchanged rate of 4.3%.

According to data released in June from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate remained unchanged from April at 3.6%. Job gains continued in leisure and hospitality, warehousing and in transportation and professional and business services.

Employment in retail trade declined by 61,000 jobs in May but was still 159,000 jobs above the level in February 2020.

Over the last year, hires totaled 78.4 million, outweighing separations at 72 million and resulting in a net employment gain of 6.4 million.

At the same time, inflation hit a more than 40-year high in May, with consumer prices up 8.6% compared to the year ago period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly report. This number was up from 8.3% growth in April and from the 8.5% growth in March.

While the economy’s growth appears to be slowing, the National Retail Federation said that a recession is unlikely to occur for the remainder of 2022.

“The economy is moving away from extremely strong growth toward moderate growth, but increased income from employment gains, rising wages and more hours worked is expected to support household spending,” said NRF’s chief economist Jack Kleinhenz in a statement last week.

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