In December, there were 4.6 million more jobs open than unemployed

A woman walks past a “No Hiring” sign in front of a store on January 13, 2022 in Arlington, Virginia.

Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images

Job openings totaled nearly $ 11 million in December while the Great Resignation cooled, according to Labor Department data Tuesday.

As a reflection of a tightening labor market, vacancies rose to 10.92 million, well above FactSet’s estimate of 10.28 million and a 1.4% increase from November. The rate of job openings as part of the labor force had not changed at 6.8%.

The quits level, which has been at a record high in recent months amid a combination of factors, moved lower to 4.34 million, a decline of 3.6%. The closing level fell to 2.9%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point.

The JOLTS report is considered as a particularly important measure when measuring sluggishness in the labor market.

The December figures further showed how close the economy is to full employment. There were 4.6 million more vacancies than workers considered for the month as unemployed.

In other economic news Tuesday, the ISM Manufacturing survey for January came in at 57.6%, down 1.2 percentage points from December, but slightly ahead of the 57.4% Dow Jones estimate. The number represents the share of companies reporting expansion for the month.

Federal Reserve officials are keeping a close eye on the latest data as they prepare for their first tightening cycle since 2018.

Policymakers say they feel the economy is close to fulfilling the Fed’s dual mandate of full employment, surpassing the central bank’s 2% inflation benchmark.

Indeed, the ISM index reflected inflationary pressure in the pipeline, as the Prices Index hit 76.1%, up 7.9 percentage points from December.

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