Economic Report: Job openings in the U.S. fall slightly in August but still near record high

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Job openings in the U.S. are near a record high.

The numbers: The number of job openings in the country fell slightly to 6.08 million in August from a record 6.14 million in the prior month. Some 5.43 million people were hired and 5.23 million lost their jobs. The so-called quits rate among private-sector employees was unchanged at 2.4%.

What happened: Job openings declined for most industries, though the biggest drop was in education. Educational employment is always hard to capture at the start and end of school years. Hurricane Harvey may have also had a negative impact at the end of the month.

The big picture Ignore the jobs report for September that showed the first decline in U.S. employment since 2010. The labor market is sizzling and most industries still have their “help wanted” shingles out, a reflection of a sturdy and steadily growing economy in its ninth year of expansion.

The one caveat: companies aren’t filling job openings as aggressively as they did during the peak of the last economic expansion in early 2007. Many firms complain they can’t find enough skilled workers and some have sought other means such as more automation to boost production.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.05%

 and Standard & Poor’s

SPX, +0.01%

 held onto small gains after the report. Treasury yields and the dollar were little changed.

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