There were 4.6 million more job openings than unemployed workers in December

A woman walks past a “Now 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 large resignation cooled off, according to Labor ministry data on Tuesday.

As a result of a tight labor market, vacancies rose to 10.92 million, well above the FactSet estimate of 10.28 million and a 1.4% increase from November. The share of job openings as a share of the labor force was unchanged at 6.8%.

The closing level, which had risen to record highs in recent months amid a confluence of factors, fell to 4.34 million, down 3.6%. The resignation rate fell to 2.9%, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points.

The JOLTS report is considered to be a particularly important measure when measuring slack in the labor market.

December figures further indicated how close the economy is to full employment. There were 4.6 million more vacancies than workers considered unemployed in the month.

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

Federal Reserve officials are following the latest data closely as they prepare to embark on their first tightening cycle since 2018.

Politicians say they feel the economy is close to fulfilling the Fed’s dual mandate of full employment and have exceeded the 2% inflation benchmark for the central bank.

In fact, the ISM index reflected inflationary pressures in the pipeline as the price index hit 76.1%, up 7.9 percentage points from December.

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