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Expand chart
Data: BLS via Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

There were two themes that persisted in November's U.S. job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) released on Friday — the stubborn quits rate and the consistent decline in the number of job openings.

The big picture: Job openings fell by 561,000 to 6.8 million, the Labor Department said, the biggest drop since August 2015. That pushed the number of job openings to the lowest level since February 2018.

  • The number of job openings in the U.S. peaked in November 2018 and has fallen almost every month since, with the pace of the decline picking up steam toward the end of the year.

On the other side: After rising near a record high in July and August, touching 2.4%, the quits rate has fallen back and again looks stuck at 2.3%. The percentage of people who willingly leave a job is a positive sign of economic momentum and confidence.

  • The quits rate stayed at 2.3% from June 2018 to June 2019, the longest streak on record.
  • It hit 2.5% in January 2001 and has not been able to reach that number since.

Go deeper: Unemployment fell to 50-year low in 2019 but wages stagnated

Go deeper

7 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

8 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 8 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."