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News from EPI June JOLTS Data Show the Labor Market Remains Lukewarm Five Years Into the Recovery

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The June Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that five years after the official start of the recovery in June 2009, the labor market remains lukewarm.

In a testament to how flat the numbers were, the BLS news release about the data used the phrase “little changed” 20 times. The good news is that what little change there was was in the right direction, with job openings up by 94,000, hires up by 92,000, and quits up by 47,000. The JOLTS data show a labor market that is improving at a modest, steady pace, but not accelerating.

In her analysis, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz notes that hiring, while generally improving, is the one side of the equation that has yet to come close to a full recovery. The hires rate ticked up a tenth of a percent in June to reverse the small drop it experienced in May, but it remains well below its pre-recession level. “For a full recovery in the labor market to occur, hiring needs to pick up,” said Shierholz.