The number of available jobs in the US shrank in January

By Alicia Wallace, CNN

The number of job openings in the United States fell to 10.8 million in January, down from an upwardly revised 11.23 million in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday as part of its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.

The consensus estimate from economists was for 10.5 million available positions in January, according to Refinitiv.

The January JOLTS report showed that hiring increased to 6.37 million from 6.25 million, layoffs surged to 1.72 million from 1.48 million, and quits dropped to 3.89 million from 4.09 million.

The continued imbalance between worker supply and demand means the US job market remained tight in January — and that’s not what the Federal Reserve is looking for in its efforts to cool the economy.

The Fed remains highly attuned to the monthly JOLTS report as the data can serve as a proxy for labor market demand. Fed officials have expressed concern that a tight labor market could keep upward pressure on wages and, in turn, inflation.

In January, there were nearly 1.9 available jobs for every job seeker.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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