U.S. job openings increased modestly in October and layoffs rose, strengthening views that the labor recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was slowing.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased to 6.65 million on the last day of October from 6.49 million the prior month, the Labor Department said on Wednesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. Vacancies are below their 7 million level in February.
The job openings rate edged up to 4.5% from 4.4% in September. Layoffs increased 243,000 to 1.7 million. That included 91,000 layoffs in the federal government, largely due to the discharge of temporary workers hired for the 2020 Census.
The layoffs rate rose to 1.2% from 1.0% in September. Hiring dipped to 5.81 million from 5.89 million in September. That lowered the hiring rate to 4.1% from 4.2% in September.
The JOLTS report followed on the heels of news last Friday that the economy created 245,000 jobs in November, the smallest gain in nonfarm payrolls since the jobs recovery started in May and the fifth straight monthly slowdown in employment growth. The economy has recouped only 12.4 million of the 22.2 million jobs lost in March and April.
Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci