U.S. job openings fell in November, pulled down by sharp declines in construction and other services, but that will probably do little to change views that the economy is facing a shortage of workers.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, dropped by 243,000 to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, on Tuesday. They hit a record high of 7.3 million in August.
The job openings rate slipped to 4.4 percent from 4.5 percent in October.
Hiring declined 218,000 to 5.7 million in November. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, a phenomenon that economists expect will slow down job growth this year.
The government reported last Friday that nonfarm payrolls increasing by 312,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February. Job growth averaged 220,000 per month in 2018. Job gains are expected to slow to around 150,000 per month this year as workers become more scarce.
The Labor Department has not been affected by the partial shutdown of the U.S. government and will continue to publish economic data complied by its statistics agency, the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data releases from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis, including November trade figures, which were scheduled for publication on Tuesday, have been suspended during the shutdown, which started on Dec. 22 amid demands by President Donald Trump for $5 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
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