Job openings remain high but did slip 0.8 percent to a lower-than-expected 5.879 million in November vs a downward revised 5.925 million in October. Hires also fell, down 1.9 percent in the month to 5.488 million.
Openings have been moving lower after peaking at 6.140 million in July which does hint at slowing economic demand. Hires, despite November's dip, have been showing more strength and are still near their expansion highs which was set in October at 5.592 million.
Workers and employers aren't taking any risks, holding together as evidenced by separations which fell 0.9 percent to 5.202 million. And the quits rate, unchanged at a low 2.2 percent, suggests that workers, despite flat wage growth and still abundant job openings, are content to stay put.
The easing in job openings has a plus side and that is cooling in the labor market which, as indicated by the 17-year low for the unemployment rate at 4.1 percent, may be running the risk of overheating.
The unemployment rate, at 4.1 percent, is very low and consistent with full employment which has also been the continuing the signal from the JOLTS report. Job openings in the report have been running at 6 million and have been exceeding hires which supports concern that business expansion is being limited a scarcity of qualified workers. Econoday's consensus for November job openings is 6.038 million.