January 17, 2020 / 3:43 PM / a month ago

U.S. job openings post biggest drop in more than four years

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. job openings recorded their biggest drop in more than four years in November, while hiring increased moderately, suggesting a loss of momentum in the labor market at the tail end of 2019.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled 561,000 to 6.80 million, the lowest reading sine August 2015, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, on Friday.

Vacancies have been trending lower this year since hitting an all-time high of 7.63 million in late 2018. The decline in job openings in November was led by the private sector, which saw a decrease of 520,000 unfilled jobs. The drop in vacancies was concentrated in the retail and construction industries.

Government job openings fell 42,000 in November.

The job openings rate decreased to 4.3% in November from 4.6% in October. Hiring increased to 5.82 million in November from 5.78 million in October. The hiring rate was unchanged at 3.8% in November.

The government reported last week that nonfarm payrolls rose by 145,000 jobs in December, slowing from November’s robust increase of 256,000. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao)

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