U.S. job openings unexpectedly increased in October, another sign of tightness in the labor market with the jobless rate at a half-century low.
The number of positions waiting to be filled rose by 235,000 to 7.27 million, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, releasedTuesday. The median forecast called for 7 million. The quits rate held at 2.3%.
- The pickup from a 1 1/2-year low shows openings are stabilizing after falling from a record a year earlier. Companies have hired at a slower pace this year amid struggles to find qualified workers.
- The report follows a November jobs report showing employment gains roared back with a 266,000 gain, the most since January, after an upwardly revised 156,000 advance the prior month. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.
- Total vacancies exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by 1.41 million, the most since May, and continuing the inversion in their usual relationship that has lasted for more than a year and a half.
“Job openings are a measure of demand, and what you’re seeing in this number is that it has outstripped supply for 20 straight months,” economist Nick Bunker at hiring site Indeed.com said in an interview. “There’s no sign of that abating any time soon.”…