Job Openings Continue to Rise as Quits Climb to 9-Year High
The US Labor Department reported Tuesday that job openings rose in December and more American workers left their jobs, belying trends that may finally drive wage growth in the coming months. According to the report, job openings surged 4.9 percent from November to 5.6 million, the biggest such number since July. At the same time, some 3.1 million Americans quit their jobs in 2015's final month. That total, up 6.9 percent from November quits, is the highest it's been in nine years, at the beginning of the Great Recession. Economists were largely buoyed by the news, as Americans usually quit their jobs for higher-paying positions, meaning overall wages could be on the rise. Employers are also having difficulty filling job positions, and will likely have to increase their salary offers to hire in the coming weeks. Tuesday's report comes on the heels of a mixed jobs report that dropped last week, showing a slowdown in hiring but solid wage growth and a jobless rate that dipped below 5 percent for the first time in more than eight years.
While many economists lauded Tuesday's job openings report, a few insiders pointed out that the job market is finally regaining its strength too late, as other parts of the economy have begun to downshift. Struggles in overseas markets have begun to affect the US market, with the Dow suffering its worst opening month in years. Manufacturing has slumped in recent months, and overall economic growth slowed to just 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the job opening and quitting trend can only help, more optimistic economists claim.