Job Openings Unexpectedly Climb to 6.9 Million

Job Openings Unexpectedly Climb to 6.9 Million

The labor market is strengthening at a faster pace than expected.

U.S. employers posted wanted ads for 6.9 million jobs in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. That was an increase from the upwardly revised 6.752 million for December and well-above the 6.585 forecast by economists surveyed by Econoday.

Around 6.2 million of the openings were in the private sector. State and local governments posted 598,000 openings and the federal government post 83,000 openings.

Manufacturing openings rose to 515,000, up from 479,000 in December. Construction openings rose to 309,000 from 267,000.

Despite the rise in openings, hires in both manufacturing and construction declined from a month earlier. That suggests that employers are having trouble finding workers, something businesses have been saying in many surveys.

The figures come from the Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, known as JOLTS, released Tuesday.

Openings in the leisure and hospitality industry dipped from 747,000 in December to 733,000. Hotels and restaurants accounted for all of that decline as openings there fell from 685,000 to 653,000. Hiring in accommodations and food services fell from 170,000 to 138,000.

John Carney