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U.S. job openings hit a record 10.1 million in June

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

FILE - A Now Hiring sign at a business in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. U.S. employers posted a record 10.1 million job openings in June, another sign that the job market and economy are bouncing back briskly from last years coronavirus shutdowns. The Labor Department reported Monday, Aug. 9, 2021 that job openings rose from 9.5 million in May. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON – U.S. employers posted a record 10.1 million job openings in June, another sign that the job market and economy are bouncing back briskly from last year's coronavirus shutdowns.

Job openings rose from 9.5 million in May, the Labor Department reported Monday. Employers hired 6.7 million workers in June, up from 6 million in May. The gap between openings and hiring suggests that firms are scrambling to find workers. Lingering health fears, difficulty getting childcare at a time when many schools are closed and expanded federal jobless aid may have kept some unemployed Americans from seeking work.

Still, hiring (up nearly 12%) grew faster than job openings (up 6%), narrowing the mismatch. In a research report, Contingent Macro Advisors suggested that “this report might offer the first sign that headwinds like generous unemployment benefits and childcare issues for parents might finally be abating, allowing people to get back to work.''

A record low 1.3 million people were laid off or fired in June.

The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, showed that nearly 3.9 million workers quit their jobs in June, a sign of confidence in their prospects of getting a better one. The June quits number was just shy of the record 4 million, set in April.

The U.S. economy has rebounded with unexpected strength as the rollout of vaccines allows businesses to reopen or expand hours and encourages cooped-up Americans to get out again and visit restaurants, bars and shops. Still, the fast-spreading delta variant has cast a shadow over the outlook. Daily cases are averaging more than 100,000, up from fewer than 12,000 in late June but down around 250,000 in early January.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the economy generated 943,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.9% in June.