The Labor Department says job openings rose 1.8 percent to 4 million, the most in 5 ½ years. And the number of people quitting increased 1.9 percent to 2.4 million, a five-year high.
More job openings and quits suggest greater opportunities for the unemployed. But those positive trends haven’t recently translated into additional hiring. Overall hiring ticked up just 0.2 percent to nearly 4.5 million.
The figures also follow a disappointing report on December job growth. The government last week said employers added just 74,000 jobs in December. That’s the fewest in three years and below an average gain of 214,000 in the previous three months.