US job openings rise more than expected

Job openings in the US rose more than expected in January, according to the Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released on Thursday.
Openings totaled 5.626 million in January, above the prior month’s reading of 5.501 million.

Economists estimated 5.562 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 report also includes the quits rate, which is one of the labour-market indicators favoured by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. The quits rate rose to 2.2% in January, after falling to 2.0% in the previous month.

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 feel comfortable leaving their jobs.

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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