ECONOMY

US job openings remain at mostly healthy level in December

The number of open jobs was mostly unchanged in December from the previous month, leaving openings at a healthy level.

The Labor Department says job openings were flat at 5.5 million in December. Total hiring rose slightly to 5.25 million, while the number of people quitting fell.

The figures suggest that December was a mostly stable month for the job market, with many employers possibly waiting until the new year to step up hiring.

Last week's jobs report showed that employers stepped up hiring in January, adding 227,000 jobs, the most in four months. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent from 4.7 percent, but the increase was mostly for a good reason: More Americans began looking for work, but not all immediately found jobs.