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(Kitco News) The gold market moved above $2,000 an ounce after the U.S. labor market showed signs of slowing, with the number of job openings dropping more than expected in March.
The number of available positions declined to 9.6 million in March from an upwardly revised 9.974 million a month earlier, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed Wednesday. Market consensus calls were expecting to see 9.8 million openings.
The rate of layoffs rose 1.2%, rising to 1.8 million, led by construction, accommodation, food services, and health care. The quits rate edged down 2.5%, coming in at 3.9 million.
The ratio of job openings to unemployed people edged down to 1.6 in March, marking the lowest level since October 2021. The Federal Reserve likes to watch this ratio and has previously stated that rate hikes were justified because the number of job openings was elevated.
The gold market began to rally after the release, with June Comex gold futures last trading at $2,012, up 0.99% on the day.
All eyes are on the Fed’s rate decision this Wednesday, with markets pricing in a 92% chance of a 25-basis-point hike. But the lower-than-expected job openings signal that this could be the last Fed rate hike in this tightening cycle before a pause.
Close attention is also being paid to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report from April, with market consensus calls looking for 179,000 positions to have been added and for the unemployment rate to have ticked up to 3.6%.
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