Photo: A “help wanted” sign outside a restaurant in the East Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, on March 29, 2021. A “help wanted” sign outside a restaurant in the East Flatbush neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, on March 29, 2021.

U.S. job openings unexpectedly rebounded in September amid low unemployment, likely fueling further wage gains and adding pressure on the Federal Reserve to extend its aggressive campaign to curb inflation.

The number of available positions increased to 10.7 million in September, from a revised 10.3 million a month earlier, the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed Tuesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a drop to about 9.8 million.

The surprise pickup in vacancies highlights unrelenting demand for workers despite mounting economic headwinds. The persistent imbalance between labor supply and demand continues to underpin robust wage growth, adding to widespread price pressures and reinforcing expectations for yet another large rate hike on Wednesday.

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