Job openings ticked down slightly

Job openings in the US ticked down slightly in December, according to the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released on Tuesday.

Openings totaled 5.501 million, slightly below to the prior month’s reading of 5.505 million.

Economists estimated 5.580 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 labour market.

Additionally, the JOLTS report also includes the quits rate, which is one of the labour-market indicators favoured by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The quits rate dipped to 2.0% in December, after holding at 2.1% for six straight months.

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 labour 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 are bold enough to risk jumping ship.

Taking that idea one step further, some economists have pointed out that the quits rate tends as a leading indicator of wage growth.

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