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Job openings in the US rose more than expected in January, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released on Thursday.
Openings totaled 5.626 million in January, above the prior month’s reading of 5.501 million.
Economists estimated 5.562 million openings, according to the Bloomberg consensus.
The JOLTS report touches on how many opportunities are available as well as the pace of layoffs and resignations in the US labor market.
Additionally, the report also includes the quits rate, which is one of the labor-market indicators favored by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The quits rate rose to 2.2% in January, after falling to 2.0% in the previous month.
Notably, although the word “quit” often comes with a slew of negative connotations, a higher quits rate actually sends a message about rising worker confidence in the labor market.
The thinking here is that during good economic times, people feel comfortable quitting a job because they believe they can find another quickly or because they have already found another one. On the flip side, when there are layoffs during economic downturns, few feel comfortable leaving their jobs.
Taking that idea one step further, some economists have pointed outthat the quits rate tends as a leading indicator of wage growth.