Job openings rise in January

Production of a Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio.

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Production of a Jeep Cherokee at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in Toledo, Ohio.

Job openings rose in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Thursday.

There were 5.5 million job openings in January, up from 5.28 million job openings in December, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) report.

Economists expected 5.5 million job openings in January, according to a Reuters survey.

The monthly report from the Labor Department is a closely followed barometer of economic conditions, and measures job postings in different sectors, and the number of hires and layoffs.

Private sector jobs, including construction and wholesale trade, saw the biggest gains during the month. Regionally, the Midwest saw an increase in job openings.

The hiring rate was 3.5 percent, slightly lower than in December. The number of hires also decreased to 5 million. This decline was seen across several industries including health care and social assistance, professional and business services, as well as accommodation and food services.

The turnover rate in January was 3.4 percent or 4.9 million total separations, ticking down from December. Accommodation and food services saw the greatest decline in turnover, according to the Labor Department report.

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