Private-Sector Job Openings Fell Slightly in January but Remain Near the Record High

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the total number of job openings in the economy fell to 11.263 million in January, down from 11.448 million in December. The number of open positions in the private sector decreased to 10.234 million in January, down 109,000 from a record-high 10.343 million in December (see first chart).

The total job openings rate, openings divided by the sum of jobs plus openings, dropped to 7.0 percent in January from 7.1 percent in December while the private-sector job-openings rate fell to 7.4 percent from a record-high 7.5 percent (see first chart).

Two industry categories have more than 2.0 million openings each: education and health care (2.129 million) and professional and business services (2.065 million). Trade, transportation, and utilities (1.834 million), and Leisure and hospitality (1.497 million) are both above 1 million.

The highest openings rates were in leisure and hospitality (9.9 percent), professional and business services (8.6 percent), education and health care (8.2 percent), manufacturing (6.4 percent), and transportation, and utilities, trade (6.1 percent) are all above the pre-lockdown-recession private-sector peak of 5.1 percent (see second chart). Among the private-sector industry groups, only construction (4.8 percent) is below 5.1 percent.

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