PhotoNot much change during December in the number of jobs available for the taking.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there were 5.5 million job openings on the last business day of December -- about the same as in November.

Hires and separations also showed little change at 5.3 million and 5.0 million, respectively.

Job openings

The 5.5 million job openings in December translates to a rate of 3.6%, with little change in the private sector and a drop of 75,000 for government. Openings increased in other services (+50,000) and federal government (+13,000), but fell in state and local government, excluding education (-85,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions of the country.

Hires

The hires rate was 3.6%, with little change in the private sector and down for government. Hires dipped in state and local government, excluding education (-33,000), and in mining and logging (-7,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.

Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations, and is referred to as turnover. Separations totaled 5.0 million in December -- little changed from November -- for a rate of 3.4%. There was little change in the number of separations for the private sector, while government posted a loss of 37,000. Declines were registered in state and local government (-28,000), with the number of total separations little changed in all four regions.

Net employment change

Over the 12 months ending in December, hires totaled 62.5 million and separations totaled 60.1 million. That works out to a net employment gain of 2.4 million. The totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

The complete report is available on the BLS website.


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