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Number of Job Openings Remained Steady in November

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The number of job openings in the United States was little changed in November, while the number of hires and total job separations decreased.

On the last business day of November, there were 8.8 million job openings, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said in a Wednesday (Jan. 3) press release. That figure was down from a series high of 12.0 million in March 2022.

The number of hires dropped by 363,000 in November, down to 5.5 million, according to the release.

During the same month, the number of total separations declined by 292,000, landing at 5.3 million, the release said. These separations included 3.5 million quits, 1.5 million layoffs and discharges and 342,000 other separations.

Within these separations, the number of quits edged down, while the numbers of layoffs, discharges and other separations were little changed, per the release.

The number of job openings in November was the lowest since March 2021, while the number of quits was the lowest since February 2021, Reuters reported Wednesday.

These figures mark a gradual cooling of the labor market and could contribute to the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates this year, according to the report.

A trend toward fewer job changes could help moderate wage growth and thereby lower inflation, the report said.

At the same time, the labor market remains fairly strong, as layoffs were at their lowest level since December 2022, per the report.

“The Fed is likely in a sweet spot as they prepare markets for an upcoming cut in rates,” Jeffrey Roach, chief economist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Reuters.

It was reported on Dec. 5 that much of the outlook for the economy depends on the job market, which has been cooling in recent months.

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan said at the time that while there are signs of the economy slowing down, he is optimistic that it will experience a soft landing rather than a recession.

Moynihan said that money is coming out of customer accounts and consumer spending has “leveled out,” which he sees as positive news indicating that the economy has normalized.