WASHINGTON – Employers posted more open positions in January and the number of Americans quitting jumped, evidence that the job market is steadily improving.
The Labor Department says job openings rose 1.6 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted 5.6 million. While healthy, openings have fallen 1.5 percent year over year.
More than 3.2 million people quit their jobs in January, the most in nearly 16 years. That is a sign of confidence in the job market, since workers typically quit either when they have another job, or are optimistic they can find one.
More quitting also boosts wages, because it indicates employers may be recruiting workers from other jobs by offering higher pay. Fed Chair Janet Yellen regularly points to quit levels as a gauge of labor market health.