US job openings massively undershot expectations last month

Emma Haslett
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The pound has jumped against the dollar after a closely-watched measure of US employment massively undershot expectations.

The pound soared past $1.31 in lunchtime trading, rising 0.4 per cent on the day, after US non-farm payrolls showed there were just 261,000 new job openings last month, against expectations of 313,000.

However, the figure was a huge rise on last month, when job openings fell by 33,000 - the first time since 2011 job openings have contracted.

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings rose 2.4 per cent, down from 2.8 per cent in September, while labour force participation fell to 62.7 per cent, down from 63.1 per cent in September.

Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM, suggested it was that figure which contributed to weakness in the dollar.

Digging deeper into the report, the key culprit behind the dollar selloff was most likely average monthly earnings, which remained flat in October.

"With tepid wage growth fuelling concerns that inflation could remain depressed for extended periods, the markets may start debating how often the Fed raises rates in 2018.

"On the bright side, the unemployment rate dropped to a 17-year low at 4.1 per cent, after the hurricane disruptions."

Read more: The US economy lost jobs in September for the first time since 2011