NATIONAL NEWS

US job openings stay steady at nearly 8.9 million in January, a sign labor market remains strong

Mar 6, 2024, 7:09 AM

A technician installs solar panels on a roof of a home in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Feb. 26,...

A technician installs solar panels on a roof of a home in Arlington Heights, Ill., Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, the Labor Department reports on job openings and labor turnover for January. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. job openings barely changed in January but remained elevated, suggesting that the American job market remains healthy.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that U.S. employers posted 8.86 million job vacancies in January, down slightly from 8.89 million in December and about in line with economists’ expectations.

Layoffs fell modestly, but so did the number of Americans quitting their jobs — a sign of confidence they can find higher pay or better working conditions elsewhere.

Job openings have declined since peaking at a record 12 million in March 2022 as the economy roared back from COVID-19 lockdowns. But they remain at historically high levels: Before 2021, monthly openings had never topped 8 million.

The U.S. economy has proven surprisingly resilient despite sharply higher interest rates. To combat resurgent inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 11 times between March 2022 and July 2023, bringing it to the highest level in more than two decades.

Higher borrowing costs have helped bring inflation down. Consumer prices rose 3.1% in January from a year earlier, down from a year-over-year peak of 9.1% in June 2022 but still above the Fed’s 2% target.

The job market has remained durable throughout.

Employers have added a robust average of 244,000 jobs a month over the past year, including 333,000 in December and 353,000 in January.

The Labor Department’s February jobs numbers, out Friday, are expected to show that employers added another 200,000 jobs last month, according to a survey of forecasters by data firm FactSet. The unemployment rate likely stayed at 3.7%, which would mark the 25th straight month it’s come in below 4% — longest such streak since the 1960s.

The job market is cooling from the red-hot days of 2022 and 2023 in a mostly painless way — through fewer openings. Despite a wave of high-profile layoffs, the number of job cuts across the economy remains relatively low.

National News

boeing starliner...

Frank Sumrall

Boeing Starliner’s return to Earth delayed indefinitely as it troubleshoots glitches

It could be another two weeks before the astronauts on the Boeing Starliner can return to Earth, extending a planned nine-day mission to more than a month.

38 minutes ago

Associated Press

Rail bridge collapses during Midwest flooding as a heat wave persists across much of the US

Millions of Americans sweated through a scorching weekend as temperatures soared across the U.S., while residents were rescued from floodwaters that forced evacuations across the Midwest. One person died during flooding in South Dakota, the governor said. From the mid-Atlantic to Maine, across the Great Lakes region, and throughout the West to California, public officials […]

9 hours ago

Associated Press

3 Columbia University administrators put on leave over alleged text exchange at antisemitism panel

NEW YORK (AP) — Columbia University said it has placed three administrators on leave while it investigates allegations that they exchanged unprofessional text messages while attending a panel discussion about antisemitism on campus. The university said the administrators work for its undergraduate Columbia College, which hosted the panel discussion “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Man charged in shooting that critically wounded Philadelphia officer, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A 36-year-old Philadelphia man was charged Sunday with attempted murder in connection with a shooting that critically wounded a police officer after a traffic stop, police said. Ramon Rodriguez Vazquez also faces charges that include aggravated assault and home invasion, police said. The 31-year-old officer and his partner stopped a car carrying […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

California boy, 4, who disappeared from campground found safe after 22 hours alone in wilderness

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 4-year-old California boy who wandered away from a campground in the Sierra National Forest was found safe after spending 22 hours alone in the wilderness, authorities said. A search-and-rescue team of about 50 officers and volunteers set out around 11 a.m. Thursday after the child was reported missing from the […]

19 hours ago

Associated Press

One man died and five others were hospitalized in downtown St. Louis shooting

ST. LOUIS (AP) — One man is dead and five others have been wounded in a downtown St. Louis shooting, police said. Police believe women were fighting in a park when men stepped in and drew firearms, according to a statement from St. Louis police. The man who died likely was in his mid-twenties and […]

19 hours ago

US job openings stay steady at nearly 8.9 million in January, a sign labor market remains strong