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U.S. job openings fall to lowest level in 21 months

U.S. job openings fall to lowest level in 21 months
The number of job openings at the end of November was the lowest in 21 months, the Labor Department report said. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Job openings in the United States in November fell to the lowest level in almost two years, aided by a surge of hiring and little turnover, the Labor Department said Friday.

The Job Openings and Labor Market Turnover Survey reported 6.8 million openings at the end of November -- the fewest since February 2018 and a decline of 561,000.

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"Over the month, hires and separations [changed little] at 5.8 million and 5.6 million, respectively," the report said. "Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was [changed little] at 1.1 percent."

The retail sector saw the greatest cuts in vacancies, dropping by 139,000, while the construction industry declined by 112,000.

"Common sense should tell you that indeed, after an 11-year run of economic growth that many companies have hired all the help they need for now," Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, said in a note to clients. "Today's sharp reduction in jobs available maybe telling us that the economy has finally reached full employment."

There were 7.63 million openings in November 2018, a year-to-year drop of 800,000. Nearly 6 million hires were made that month and 5.6 million separations.

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