Demand for workers continued to grow in June, hitting the fourth straight record high for the 21st century as the economy continues to recover and workers hold more leverage.

Employers added 590,000 job openings as of the end of June, reaching 10.1 million, according to the Labor Department’s latest JOLTS report. This is 44% higher than its pre-pandemic level in February 2020. Hiring also rose to reach 6.7million new hires in June versus 5.9 million in May.

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The largest job openings gains were in professional and business services, which added 227,00 available positions in June. Additionally, retail and trade added 133,00 job openings while accommodation and food services increased postings by 121,000.

The rate of workers voluntarily leaving their jobs — a sign of workers' confidence — increased to 2.7%. That level is well above the pandemic-era low of 1.6% in April 2020.

A ‘Help Wanted’ sign is posted beside Coronavirus safety guidelines in front of a restaurant in Los Angeles, California on May 28, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

Accommodation and food services had the largest quit rate in June of 5.7% — unchanged from May — followed by retail trade's 4.1% quit rate, which is up from May. Quits levels in both industries are well above their pre-pandemic levels.

The number of unemployed workers per job opening also fell to 0.9 in June, a significant drop from its peak of 5 unemployed workers per job opening in April 2020. At the same time, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges remained at the series lows of 1.4 million and 0.9%, respectively.

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