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Job openings, quits in U.S. up near record high in February

A "now hiring" sign is seen outside a fast-food restaurant in Wilmington, Calif., on January 27, 2021. The Labor Department said Tuesday that hiring increased while quits remained at an elevated level in February. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
A "now hiring" sign is seen outside a fast-food restaurant in Wilmington, Calif., on January 27, 2021. The Labor Department said Tuesday that hiring increased while quits remained at an elevated level in February. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. companies hired nearly 6.7 million people last month and people quitting their jobs remained at an elevated level -- nearly 4.4 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly report Tuesday.

The report said 4.352 million quit their jobs in February, well over the 3.439 million who voluntarily left their jobs at the same time in 2021.

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The department said that there were 11.3 million job openings by the end of February, which changed little from January and was slightly down from December.

Officials said that retail saw the largest number of quits with 74,000, followed by durable goods manufacturing at 22,000 and state and local government education at 14,000.

The report said more than 75,000 were hired in construction in February to lead all sectors while hiring remained steady in all four regions of the country. Hiring decreased by 29,000 in the information sector.

Tuesday's report -- known as the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS -- is separate from the department's monthly jobs report. Earlier this month, the department's jobs report showed close to 700,000 new hires were added in February. The department will release its jobs report for March on Friday.

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"The labor market is still raring to go with strong employer demand and increased worker mobility," Daniel Zhao, senior economist at the job review site Glassdoor, told The Washington Post. "We're still seeing very strong job openings and quits, as well as layoffs at record lows."

Hiring has held steady, increasing in February to 6.689 million, from 6.426 million in January. Hiring reached 6.705 million last November.

Those numbers remain above the 6.028 million hired at this point in 2021.

"Over the 12 months ending in February 2022, hires totaled 77 million and separations totaled 70.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 6.4 million," the Labor Department said in the report.

"These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year," the department said.

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