Job openings surged in December, foretelling perhaps January’s surge in the labor participation rate. Openings came in at 5.607 million, well up from a revised 5.346 million in November. The openings rate jumped 2 tenths to 3.8 percent and compares with 3.4 percent in December 2015. The layoffs rate, portending the decline in the unemployment rate, fell 1 tenth in the month to 1.1 percent. This is a strong report and a reminder that the labor market continues to move to something called full employment, defined by convention as the flashpoint for wage inflation.
And in an indication that workers are moving up to better jobs, the quits rate rose 1 tenth to 2.1 percent. The number of quits is now higher than in December 2007 (2.8 million), the first month of the recession.