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Job openings fall from record high; still exceed number of unemployed workers

November 06, 2018

The number of US job openings fell in September from a record-high set in August, and the number of hires and separations were both little changed, according to data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 7.0 million job openings in September, up 12.5% year over year but down from a revised series high of 7.3 million in August.

Job openings increased by 71,000 in healthcare and social assistance but decreased in many industries. The largest decreases in job opens came in professional and business services, down by 118,000 job openings; finance and insurance, down by 82,000; and state and local government, excluding education, down by 67,000 openings.

The number of job openings decreased in the South region.

The job openings rate — a measure of job openings compared with total employment — was 4.5%, down 20 basis points from the month prior but up from 4.1% in September 2017.

Even after the decline, job openings still exceed the 6.1 million Americans officially classified as unemployed, MarketWatch reported. The share of people who left jobs on their own, known as the quits rate, was unchanged at 2.7% among private-sector employees, close to the record high of 2.9% set in 2001. The shrinking pool of available labor is also forcing companies to pay higher wages and benefits to attract workers.

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