U.S. job openings fall less than expected; prior month's data revised higher

Job openings advertised at businesses in Cambridge
A pedestrian passes a "Help Wanted" sign in the door of a hardware store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., July 8, 2022. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) - U.S. job openings fell less than expected in January and data for the prior month was revised higher, pointing to persistently tight labor market conditions that likely will keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates for longer.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, had decreased by 410,000 to 10.8 million on the last day of January, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS report, on Wednesday. Data for December was revised higher to show 11.2 million job openings instead of the previously reported 11.0 million.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 10.5 million job openings. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Tuesday that the U.S. central bank would likely need to hike rates more than expected and he opened the door to a half-percentage-point increase this month to combat inflation after a recent raft of strong data.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao

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