The rate of layoffs in America is at a record low

Job openings rose as expected in September, while layoffs as a share of total employment fell to a record low.

There were 5.486 million job openings in the US in September, the monthly Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS report) released Tuesday showed.

Economists had forecast that the number of job openings totaled 5.488 million, up from a revised level of 5.543 million openings in August, according to Bloomberg.

The share of layoffs and discharges as a percentage of total employment fell to 1.1%, the lowest level going back to at least 2001.

The biggest month-on-month drops in the rate were in the mining and education sectors.

The total number of layoffs reported also fell to a record low 1.474 million.

“We view the September JOLTS report as consistent with our view that the labour market continues to improve but that job gains will moderate from the robust pace seen over the past few years,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan, in a note. “The job openings and hires rates still look solid by the standards of this expansion, but soft relative to many of the figures from the past year or so.”

The JOLTS report showed that the quits rate — the number of quits divided by the number of employees who worked or were paid for work — was unchanged at 2.1%.

This rate attracted more attention after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen endorsed it as a preferred metric of worker confidence in the jobs market. People are more willing to quit their jobs if they have offers on hand, or are confident that the job search won’t be long.

In August, the share of employees quitting their jobs compared to total separations from employers rose to a post-recession high.

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