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US job openings jump to record 7.3 million in December

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US job openings surged to a record high in December, led by vacancies in the construction, accommodation and food services sectors, which could bolster views that the economy is experiencing a dearth of workers.

[WASHINGTON] US job openings surged to a record high in December, led by vacancies in the construction, accommodation and food services sectors, which could bolster views that the economy is experiencing a dearth of workers.

Job openings, a measure of labour demand, increased by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million, the Labour Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey, or Jolts, on Tuesday. That was the highest level since the series started in 2000.

The job openings rate climbed to 4.7 per cent from 4.6 per cent in November. Hiring rose to 5.9 million from 5.8 million in November. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, a phenomenon that economists expect will slow down job growth this year.

The government reported earlier this month that nonfarm payrolls increasing by 304,000 jobs in January, the largest gain since February 2018. Job gains are expected to slow to around 150,000 per month this year as workers become more scarce.

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