US job openings, total hiring down in December

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 12, 2013 at 5:35 pm •  Published: February 12, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers advertised fewer jobs in December and cut back on hiring, suggesting many were cautious at the end of the year.

Job openings dropped 4.6 percent in December from November to 3.62 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. November's openings were revised higher.

Employers hired 4.2 million people, a 4.8 percent drop and the fewest in a year.

One positive sign: Employers cut just 1.57 million jobs, the fewest layoffs on records dating back to 2001.

Still, those looking for work face stiff competition. About 12.2 million people were unemployed in December. That means there were 3.4 unemployed people, on average, competing for each open job. In a healthy economy, the ratio is roughly 2 to 1.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, also known as JOLTS, calculates total hiring, layoffs and quits. That's different from the department's monthly jobs report, which measures the unemployment rate and net hiring. Net hiring is total hiring minus layoffs, quits and other separations.

The JOLTS data will likely be revised significantly next month based on comprehensive tax records. Similar revisions were made to the government's monthly employment report and showed much stronger hiring at the end of last year.



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