Jan 30, 2024 - Economy

Job openings ticked up in December, in sign of steady labor market

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Employers were still looking to hire as 2023 came to a close. That's the takeaway from a steady-as-she-goes Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, out Tuesday morning.

Driving the news: The number of job openings rose to 9.03 million in December, the Labor Department said, up from 8.93 million in November. That's a small move, but it contrasts with a decline that forecasters had expected.

  • The number of hires, quits and layoffs were also little changed in December.

What they're saying: "December layoffs and quits are both stable and relatively low, indicating workers are largely staying put," wrote Elizabeth Renter, data analyst at NerdWallet, in a note.

  • "Employers aren't cutting people loose at a significant rate, and workers are no longer job-switching in pursuit of greener pastures," she wrote.

Of note: There has been a wave of high-profile job cuts by tech and media companies so far in 2023, which would not have been accounted for in the December JOLTS data.

  • Another sign of corporate belt-tightening came Tuesday morning: UPS said it's laying off 12,000 employees after reporting a drop in shipping volumes.
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