US jobs figures pave way for interest rate lift

Chris Papadopoullos
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THE US could raise interest rates next month after a robust set of labour market data published yesterday.

The number of US job opportunities was a strong 5.25m in June after edging down slightly from May’s record 5.36m, according to the Labor Department’s job openings and labour turnover survey (Jolts).

The survey also showed the number of unemployed job seekers per open job falling to 1.58 – its lowest rate since August 2007.

Having fewer applicants per job could push up wages, putting pressure on the Fed to lift rates.

Job vacancies have been climbing rapidly for a number of months with economists widely viewing June’s downward movement as a blip.

The Jolts are seen as a key indicator of economic health by Fed chair Janet Yellen.

The quits rate, which looks at the number of people voluntarily leaving their job and is seen as sign of work­er confidence, stayed flat at 1.9 per cent. “While quits rates have also been steady for three months, the quits rate is well off the recent lows. Trends in hires and quits rates will likely be viewed positively at the Fed,” said John Ryding from RDQ Economics.