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Job Openings in U.S. Rose to Record in January, Above Forecast

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U.S. job openings rebounded to the highest on record in January, reflecting a solid job market at the start of the year, Labor Department data showed Friday.

Highlights of Job Openings (January)

  • Number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 645,000 to 6.31m (est. 5.92m) from a downwardly revised 5.67m in Dec. (prev 5.81m): Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey or JOLTS
  • Private hiring rose to 5.24m from 5.17m
  • 3.27m Americans quit their jobs, down from 3.34m in Dec.; quits rate eased to 2.2% from 2.3%

Key Takeaways

The surge in January job postings may help explain February’s addition of 313,000 workers to employers’ payrolls, the biggest gain since mid-2016. While wages cooled last month, pay may start increasing at a faster pace as the economy continues to expand and approaches full employment. Revisions on Friday showed the quits rate touched 2.3 percent in December, the highest since 2005, suggesting workers are confident that they will be able to find another job.

Other Details

  • There were 1.1 unemployed people vying for every opening in January, compared with 1.9 people when the recession began at the end of 2007
  • Rise in openings was mainly due to increases in construction; transportation and warehousing; and professional and business services
  • Job openings rose in all four U.S. regions
  • In the 12 months through January, the economy created a net 2.1 million jobs, representing 65.4 million hires and 63.2 million separations
  • Although it lags the Labor Department’s other jobs data by a month, the JOLTS report adds context to monthly payrolls figures by measuring dynamics such as resignations, help-wanted ads and the pace of hiring
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