WASHINGTON – U.S. employers posted fewer job openings in December and hiring slowed, adding to evidence that the job market weakened that month.
Still, the number of available jobs remained near a 5½-year high. The Labor Department says that job openings slipped 1 percent to 3.99 million in December, from 4.03 million in the previous month. November's total was the first time that available jobs had topped 4 million since March 2008.
Total hiring fell to 4.4 million from 4.5 million in November. While job openings are mostly back to pre-recession levels, hiring is below the roughly 5 million a month that's typical for a healthy market.
Last week's jobs report showed that job gains in January were tepid for the second straight month. The unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent.