ECONOMY

US job openings increase to fresh 14-year high; job quits, hiring also climb

In this Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 photo, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ignacio Yanes, left, writes information given by Jim Brooks, right, of the Small Business Administration at the annual Veterans Career and Resource Fair in Miami. The Labor Department issues its December report on job openings and labor turnover on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

In this Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 photo, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Ignacio Yanes, left, writes information given by Jim Brooks, right, of the Small Business Administration at the annual Veterans Career and Resource Fair in Miami. The Labor Department issues its December report on job openings and labor turnover on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)  (The Associated Press)

The number of available jobs posted by U.S. employers rose in December to the highest level in 14 years, a sign recent strong job gains will likely continue.

The Labor Department says job openings rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5 million, the most since January 2001. Total hires also increased 1.9 percent to 5.1 million.

More Americans also quit their jobs, a sign of confidence in the labor market, because people typically quit when they have another job lined up, usually at higher pay.

The figures echo last week's monthly jobs report, which showed that businesses are adding jobs at a robust pace and even paying more to attract workers. Employers added 257,000 jobs in January, and wages rose at the fastest one-month pace in six years.