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Wealth Watch: Record Job Openings, Very Few Hires

Wealth Watch: Record Job Openings, Very Few Hires

June 09, 2021

From the desk of Vance Howard:

Biotechnology is starting to break out, and a few weeks back we started taking a position in our Ultra portfolio along with one of our mutual funds. This trade has more room to run. 


The S&P 500 is trading in the box, just churning with no real direction over the last few weeks. We expect this will not last much longer with a breakout to the upside in the near-term. Pullbacks are very buyable. Value has led the market this year and will probably stay strong, while growth/technology should pick back up in the last two quarters of the year. 


Lots of jobs and nobody seems very eager to go back to work. Everywhere I go there seems to be a “We Are Hiring” sign in the window. The number of job openings surged 12.0% in April to 9.286 million, a new record high. The biggest gains were in accommodation and food service, other services, and durable goods manufacturing. Layoffs fell to a new record low. The combination of more job openings and fewer layoffs indicates a significant increase in labor demand. But hires barely budged, up just 1.1% to 6.075 million, amid ongoing labor supply constraints, including childcare options, lingering health concerns, and extended unemployment benefits. 

Job Openings

The number of unemployed per job opening slid to 1.06, its lowest level since February 2020, indicating that a lot of the labor market slack that was created during the recession has been eliminated. Tightening labor market conditions are raising worker confidence, as evidenced by the jump in the quit rate to 2.7%, a record high. 


Vance Howard

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