A sigh of relief or bottle half full?

Demand for workers remained robust in the spring, with April job openings and the number of times workers quit their jobs decreasing from their record highs.

On Wednesday, the Labor Department said there were a seasonally adjusted 11.4 million job openings in April, a decrease from an upwardly revised record high of 11.9 million openings reached the prior month. In addition, the number of times workers quit their jobs fell slightly to 4.4 million. Both are signs that the labor market remains unusually tight.

Separate private-sector estimates show that employers had 11.4 million job openings through late May, according to jobs site “Indeed,” a sign that hiring demand remained strong last month.

The high openings come as fewer Americans seek employment than before the pandemic. The labor-force participation rate, the share of those employed or seeking work, has steadily recovered throughout the past two years. Still, it declined in April to 62.2%, remaining below the 63.4% reached in February 2020, before the pandemic, the Labor Department said in May.