Feb. job openings slip to 9.9M; a win in inflation fight?

U.S. job openings slipped to 9.9 million in February, fewest since May 2021 and a sign that the job market may be starting to cool, which would be welcome news for the inflation fighters at the Federal Reserve, according to an Associated Press report.

Vacancies fell from 10.6 million in January, the Labor Department said Tuesday, notably in health care and in professional services, which includes managerial and technical jobs. Openings rose for construction workers.

Despite the drop, the number of layoffs ticked lower in February, and more Americans quit their jobs — a sign of confidence they can find better pay or working conditions elsewhere.

Hiring was expected to slow this year after 2021 and 2022 — the two best years for job creation on record. Instead, employers added an astonishing 504,000 jobs in January and a healthy 311,000 in February. Economists believe they added another 240,000 last month, according to a survey of forecasters by the data firm FactSet. The March numbers come out Friday.