U.S. Job Openings Hit Highest Level Since 2001

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This story originally appeared on Reuters

U.S. job openings rose to their highest level in more than 13 years in August even as hiring fell, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Job openings were at a seasonally adjusted 4.835 million compared with a downwardly revised 4.605 million in July, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey on Tuesday. Job openings are used to measure labor demand.

Federal Reserve policymakers have said they are monitoring the JOLTS report as they consider their next step on monetary policy.

Employers hired a seasonally adjusted 4.640 million people in August, down from 4.934 million in July, the report said. August's hiring was 27 percent higher than in June 2009 when it was at its lowest level since the beginning of the recession.

At 1.8 percent, the quits rate has held steady for seven consecutive months. That rate measures the number of people who leave their jobs voluntarily and is an indication of how confident employees are that they can find a better job elsewhere.

A separate Labor Department report released on Friday showed the labor market picking up as U.S. employers added 248,000 jobs in September, and the national unemployment rate slid to 5.9 percent, its lowest level in six years.

Federal Reserve officials see the labor market as a key indicator to determine when to raise interest rates.

(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Paul Simao)

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