US job openings rose in November; hiring, quits rise

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers advertised slightly more jobs in November as overall hiring edged up and more Americans quit their jobs in signs of a healthier environment for workers.

The Labor Department said today the number of job postings rose 1.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5.4 million. That figure has slipped after peaking at a record 5.7 million in July, but stands 11 percent higher than a year ago.

"The labor market will continue to improve, but that we will see some moderation in job growth," said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase.

The annual increase shows that employers remain confident despite the financial turmoil in China, lower oil prices and a European economy tenuously emerging from its recent struggles. Only manufacturers have pulled back on job openings over the past 12 months, a reflection of the stronger dollar and weak international growth hurting sales abroad.

The picture looks healthier for jobs insulated from the global economy. Advertisements for health care jobs have surged 34 percent over the past 12 months to more than a million. Postings for hotel and restaurant jobs have climbed 22 percent to 698,000.

Overall hiring picked up 3.4 percent to 5.2 million from a year ago. The number of people quitting their jobs, a sign of confidence that people can find better-paying work, rose 6.3 percent over the past year to 2.83 million.

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