Job openings rose in October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Job openings rose in October from the prior month, government data showed on Tuesday, while the job openings rate increased.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, rose 351,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. September job openings were upwardly revised to 3.0 million.

In October, the job openings rate -- a gauge of how many jobs were still open at the end of the month -- rose to 2.5 percent from an upwardly revised 2.3 percent in September.

The rate of new hires was steady at 3.2 percent, while the separations rate edged down to 3.1 percent from 3.2 percent, the Labor Department said.

With the rise in October, job openings were 44 percent higher than the trough in July 2009, just as the worst U.S. recession in decades was ending, the Labor Department said.

“Overall, the October JOLTS report shows that while job openings are continuing to improve, hiring remains subdued,” said Barclays Capital economist Nicholas Tenev in a note.

“We look for hiring to pick up to fill vacancies over the coming months as overall economic activity accelerates,” he said.

In October, 4.2 million people were hired, little changed from September 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 October, which can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs, was little changed at 1.5 percent for total nonfarm payrolls and 1.7 percent for private employers, the report said.

The layoffs and discharges level was essentially unchanged in October for total nonfarm and total private payrolls but fell for government.

Reporting by Andrea Ricci; Editing by James Dalgleish