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US job openings declined to 21-month low in November 2019

Nonfarm job openings in the U.S. declined in November 2019 to their lowest level in 21 months as the pace of hiring and separations remained virtually unchanged, according to latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted job openings came in at 6.8 million, down from an upwardly revised 7.4 million in the prior month. The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for 7.1 million job openings in November 2019.

The November number was the lowest since February 2018, when job openings stood at 6.5 million.

The largest decreases were recorded in the sectors of retail trade and construction.

Hiring was virtually unchanged month over month at 5.8 million. Total job separations, which include resignations and layoffs, were also little changed at 5.6 million.

The job openings rate declined to 4.3% from 4.6% in October 2019, while the hires rate and separations rate remained steady at 3.8% and 3.7%, respectively.

The U.S. government reported Jan. 10 that total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment grew by 145,000 in December 2019, which missed market expectations, while annual wage growth fell to its lowest level in 17 months.