Feb. 12 (UPI) -- There were a record high 7.3 million job openings at the end of 2018, mostly due to positions up for grabs at private businesses, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday.
Private sector jobs accounted for 6.7 million vacancies, driving most of gains in job openings. The job openings rate was 4.7 percent, the bureau reported.
The bureau reported private job openings increased by 198,000 from the end of November while government growth was stymied amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history ending on Jan. 25.
Job openings also increased in other industries, especially construction, which had the largest jump in openings. The construction industry had 88,000 more vacancies in December, food services had 84,000 more jobs, and healthcare and social assistance had 79,000 more jobs than in November, according to the bureau's figures.
The previous high of 7.29 million job openings was set in in August.
The number of hires overall changed little at 5.9 million, up from 5.8 million in November. By industry, hires increased in retail, educational services, and mining and logging, and decreased in government.