There were 5.5 million job openings in January, a gain of 260,000 from the month before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Hires, on the other hand, fell 5.0 million while separations inched down to 4.9 million. Within separations, the quits rate was 2.0%, and the layoffs and discharges rate was 1.2%.
For 2015 as a whole, the annual number of hires and quits increased, while the annual number of layoffs and discharges edged up. The annual number of other separations was essentially unchanged.
The January job openings rate was 3.7%, with openings increasing in wholesale trade and construction, but falling in educational services and state and local government education. Openings increased in the Midwest over the month.
The hires rate was 3.5%, with the number of hires decreased for total private and government. The decline was widespread and included health care and social assistance, educational services, transportation, warehousing, utilities, and state and local government. Hires dipped in professional and business services, accommodation and food services, state and local government, -- excluding education -- and federal government. Hires fell in the South.
Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations, and is referred to as turnover. The total separations rate in January was 3.4%, falling for total private (-199,000) and government. Separations rose in information but fell in accommodation and food services and in state and local government, excluding education. Regionally, the number of total separations fell in the South.
Net change in employment
Over the 12 months ending in January 2016, hires totaled 61.7 million and separations totaled 59.0 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.7 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
The full report may be found on the BLS website
A milestone for jobless claims was reached in March.
The Department of Labor (DOL) reports the number of people filing first-time applications for state jobless benefits rose by 7,000 in the week ending March 12 to a seasonally adjusted total of 265,000. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000.
The initial claims level has now been below 300,000 for 54 straight weeks -- the longest streak since 1973.
The four-week moving average, which is less volatile than the weekly headcount and considered a more accurate barometer of the labor market, was up by 750 to 268,000.
The complete report is available on the DOL website.