Job openings jump

caption
Lightning strikes One World Trade Center in Manhattan as the sun sets behind the city after a summer storm in New York.
source
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

Job openings rose slightly more than expected.

There were 5.534 million job openings in the US in October, the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS report) released Wednesday showed.

Economists had forecast that job openings rose to 5.5 million, according to the Bloomberg consensus.

“The JOLTS data release continues to tell an interesting story about the state of the labor market,” wrote Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies, after the report.

“In sum, the labor market is poised for continued job growth, and is approaching full employment for skilled workers. Labor market conditions for semiskilled and unskilled labor are far from full employment. Also, labor market conditions for a continued acceleration in wage growth also continue to fall into place.”

The JOLTS report also contains the quits rate, which Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has endorsed as a preferred metric. The rate – or the number of quits divided by the number of employees who worked or were paid for work – once again stayed unchanged at 2.1%.

A higher quits rate sends a positive message about the labor market because people are more likely to quit their jobs if they feel confident about finding a new one quickly, or if they already have another offer. It could also suggest that workers are leaving their jobs for better-paying ones, and so be a predictorof wage growth and inflation.

Additionally, the layoffs and discharges rate stayed unchanged at 1.0%.