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US job openings unexpectedly increased in October

Nonfarm job openings in the U.S. unexpectedly increased month over month in October, as the pace of both hiring and separations slightly slowed, according to latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted job openings came in at 7.3 million in October, up from 7.0 million recorded in the prior month. The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for job openings to remain unchanged at 7.0 million.

The biggest gains in job openings levels were recorded in the sectors of retail trade, finance and insurance, and durable goods manufacturing.

Hiring was virtually unchanged month over month in October at 6.0 million. Total job separations, which include resignations and layoffs, declined to 5.6 million from 5.8 million.

The job openings rate rose month over month in October to 4.6% from 4.4%, while the hires rate and separations rate ticked down 1 percentage point to 3.8% and 3.7%, respectively.

The U.S. government reported Dec. 6 that total U.S. nonfarm payroll employment grew by 266,000 in November, surpassing market expectations.