The number of job openings was little changed at 5.4 million on the last business day of October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were little changed at 5.1 million and 4.9 million, respectively.
As a percentage of total employment, job openings fell 1 tenth to 3.6 percent which is still, for comparison, 2 tenths higher than October last year. The hiring rate held steady at 3.6 percent with the quits rate also steady, at 1.9 percent which is low for this reading and does not point to worker confidence in switching jobs. One plus is a 1 tenth dip in the layoff rate to 1.2 percent. The fact that job openings surged during the third quarter limits the impact of October’s drop. And there is one plus in the drop in openings (at least if you’re a hawk at the Fed), is that it does not point to an increasing pace of labor market utilization at a time when available labor is diminishing which in turn points to less pressure on wages.