WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job openings edged lower in November from the prior month, government data showed on Tuesday, while the job openings rate also slipped.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, fell 80,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.25 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. October job openings were downwardly revised to 3.33 million.
In November, the job openings rate -- a gauge of how many jobs were still open at the end of the month -- fell to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent in October.
The rate of new hires slipped to 3.2 percent from an upwardly revised 3.3 percent in October, while the separations rate rose to 3.2 percent from 3.1 percent, the Labor Department said.
With the decline in November, job openings were 39 percent higher than the trough in July 2009, just as the worst U.S. recession in decades was ending, the Labor Department said.
In November, 4.2 million people were hired, little changed from October but 9 percent more than the June 2009 low. The number of hires was still lower than at the start of the recession in December 2007, when 5 million people were hired, the department said.
The rate of people who quit their jobs in November, which can serve as a measure of workers' willingness or ability to change jobs, was unchanged at 1.5 percent for total non-farm payrolls and 1.7 percent for private employers, the report said.
The layoffs and discharges level was essentially unchanged in November for total non-farm and total private payrolls but increased for government, the report said.
Reporting by Andrea Ricci; Editing by Kenneth Barry