Job openings barely changed at 5.4 million

A job applicant is interviewed by a Lockheed Martin talent acquisition manager at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation "Hiring Our Heroes" military job fair in Washington January 8, 2016.
Gary Cameron | Reuters
A job applicant is interviewed by a Lockheed Martin talent acquisition manager at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation "Hiring Our Heroes" military job fair in Washington January 8, 2016.

Job openings were barely changed at 5.431 million in November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday. That's just slightly up from October's 5.349 million, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

And more people quit their jobs, signaling a stronger economy. The number of people deciding to leave their jobs, which is a sign of confidence, rose slightly to 2.83 million.

Job openings increased in health care and social assistance, with the sector adding 57,000 jobs in November, the report said. Retail trade saw a decrease in the number of job openings during the same period, down 64,000.

The number of new jobs increased in the South and decreased in the Midwest over the month, according to the Labor Department.

Hiring picked up slightly in November, coming in at 5.2 million or 3.6 percent.

Despite an increase in the number of quits, the overall number of total quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations combined was little changed at 4.9 million. The total separations rate was 3.5 percent.

The Labor Department said last week that employers added a robust 292,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate remained low at 5 percent.

But the creation of 2.65 million jobs in 2015 has done little to lift stagnant wages, which have risen just 2.5 percent in the past year, AP reported.

AP contributed to this report.