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The number of available jobs in the US falls to lowest level in more than two years

FILE - A sign advertises for help The Goldenrod, a popular restaurant and candy shop, Wednesday, June 1, 2022, in York Beach, Maine. The number of available jobs in the U.S. plummeted in August 2022 compared with July as businesses grow less desperate for workers, a trend that could cool chronically high inflation. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

MINNEAPOLIS (CNN) — Job openings in the United States fell in June to their lowest level since April 2021, according to the latest labor turnover data published Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of available jobs dropped for the second straight month, measuring a seasonally adjusted 9.582 million, or 1.6 jobs per job seeker.

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report shows that vacancies ticked down from a revised 9.61 million in May and shrank considerably since peaking north of 12 million in March 2022.

Job openings increased in industries such as health care and state and local government, excluding education, where postings fell. Job openings also dropped in industries such as transportation, warehousing and utilities and the federal government.

Economists were expecting 9.61 million openings, according to Refinitiv estimates.

On a monthly basis, the June JOLTS report also showed that the number of new hires dipped to 5.91 million from 6.23 million, quits peeled back to 3.722 million from 4.067 million, and layoffs inched down to 1.527 million from 1.546 million.

The US labor market is slowly getting back into balance, but business needs still outstrip the number of Americans looking for work, a lopsidedness that the Federal Reserve views as feeding into demand and, consequently, inflation.

Some of the labor turnover metrics are farther afield of their pre-pandemic levels than others — in February 2020, openings were just shy of 7 million, quits were 3.49 million and layoffs were 1.968 — however, the estimated 5.9 million new hires in June nearly aligns with the 5.864 million seen in February 2020.