US JOLTS: Federal Reserve on course to hike rates as quits rate holds steady and hires edge down

Chris Papadopoullos
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Unemployment Rate Drops To 7 Percent, As Economy Adds 200,000 Jobs In Nov.
Companies in the US are hiring, but many can't find the skills they need (Source: Getty)

The number of US job openings in October edged down to 5.4m in October from 5.5m the month before, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ jobs and labor turnover report (Jolts) released today.

An important gauge of worker confidence was also little changed. There were 2.8m quits in October, up from 2.7m. Quits count the number of separations that are initiated by the employee. The quits rate, the number of quits as a percentage of total employment, has been 1.9 per cent for the last seven months – it has been steadily gaining ground since hitting a trough of 1.3 per cent in 2010. However, it remains lower than pre-recessions levels when it drifted above two per cent.

There were 5.1m hires in the month, up slightly from 5m September.

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen strongly signalled that the central bank was on course to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006 at its December meeting, provided there were no surprises in economic data.

The data is more detailed than the non-farm payroll data released last month that showed the US economy added 298,000 jobs in October, but it adds to the picture of a strong US jobs market.

Last week the non-farm payroll figure fell to 211,000 – which was still seen as a strong figure.

“The picture remains of a tight labor market with a high number of unfilled jobs, which we attribute to a skills mismatch between the needs of employers and the available pool of workers,” said economists John Ryding and Conrad DeQuadros from RDQ Economics, a consultancy.

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