Job openings hit record high 6.94 million

Job openings hit record high 6.94 million

U.S. job openings in July surged to a record high while the number of people who quit their jobs rose to the highest level in 17 years, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

The number of jobs to be filled increased by 117,000 to 6.94 million, from 6.82 million, in June, according to Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reports.

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The quits rate rose to a 17-year high of 2.4 percent as 3.58 million Americans quit their jobs, a sign that workers are comfortable in their ability to find a new job. 

"Workers are feeling more and more confident in this labor market," said Nick Bunker, an economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

"The rate at which workers quit their jobs hit levels in July the U.S. economy hasn’t seen since April 2001, just as that recession was beginning," Bunker said.

"This should not be taken as a sign that quitting is at its peak, as the labor market may continue to tighten and offer more new jobs."

Bunker said it is yet to be seen if more quitting will translate into higher wage growth.

Within separations, the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 1.1 percent.

Job openings increased in finance and insurance (+46,000) and manufacturing (+32,000) but decreased in retail (-85,000), educational services (-34,000) and federal government (-19,000).

Job postings exceeded the number of unemployed people by 659,000 in July, the most since 2000.