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U.S. job openings fall significantly in December, labor market likely to witness weakness going forward
The number of U.S. job openings has been falling a bit for some time, but it fell noticeably in November and December. Job openings dropped 364k in December after falling 574k in November. The fall has been significant for trade, transportation and utilities which fell 366k for the two months combined. The fall for manufacturing was 87k.
Hires rose 45k in November and by 80k in December. Therefore, the discrepancy between openings and hires has narrowed significantly in short time. Nevertheless, openings were lower than hires for the entire period from 2001 to 2013.
Separations was little changed in December. Layoffs rose 127k, but this was offset by a fall in quits by 80k. The changes for quits and layoffs were both small and did not change the underlying trends for the two series.
“Despite the still high level, the decline is worrying and could point and more weakness for the labour market going forward”, said DNB Markets in a research report.