Another great sign for the economy: Job openings hit an all-time high in August

  • Job openings hit 7.14 million in August, notching a record for a survey that began in December 2000, according to the Labor Department.
  • The JOLTS survey also found a near-record amount of quits for the month, indicating worker confidence in finding new positions.

Job openings hit a record in August, indicating companies could face more inflationary pressures ahead with a tight labor market.

The vacancies level hit 7.14 million for the month, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, a report Federal Reserve officials watch closely for clues about where employment stands.

The total number of hires also reached a record of 5.78 million.

Openings dwarfed the total level of workers looking for jobs, which stood at 6.23 million for that month and fell to 5.96 million in September, recent Labor Department statistics show. The JOLTS survey, as it is known, lags the government's nonfarm payrolls count by a month. The survey began in December 2000.

Economists have been watching JOLTS closely as in indicator of when worker wages might start catching up with the acceleration in employment and the rapid decline in unemployment. The headline jobless rate for September was 3.7 percent, its lowest level in 49 years.

Workers continued to show confidence in the jobs market, evidenced by a quits rate that edged just a shade lower from July to 3.58 million. The rate, which counts those who voluntarily left positions, jumped 12.7 percent from August 2017.

"The fact that record numbers of workers are voluntarily quitting their jobs suggests that they are finding substantially better opportunities elsewhere in the economy," said Julia Pollak, labor economist at online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter.

Wages have been moving higher over the past year but still haven't broken out of the post-recession range. Average hourly earnings rose about 2.9 percent in August and 2.8 percent in September.