US job openings swell to 7.6M in January, amid tight labor market

The number of U.S. job openings increased in January, with the largest growth seen in the wholesale trade, real estate and rental and leasing industries, signs that employers are shrugging off the potential slowdown in economic growth.

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The Labor Department said on Friday job openings totaled a seasonally adjusted 7.58 million at the end of January, higher than the 7.48 million jobs that were available at the end of December 2018, according to data released in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report. The figure beat Refinitiv’s estimates of 7.31 million.

The number of job openings rate was 4.8 percent, up slightly from the 4.7 in the previous month. In November, the number of job openings hit a record high of 7.63 million.

Hiring rose to 5.80 million in January, little changed from the 5.72 million in the previous month. The number of job separations – or people who quit or were laid off or fired from their jobs – climbed slightly to 5.55 million, versus the 5.47 million last December.

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According to government data, the U.S. economy added just 20,000 jobs in February, while unemployment fell to 3.8 percent.