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Jobs numbers show little change

There were 2.5 million job openings on the last business day of Dec. 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The job openings rate was little changed over the month at 1.9 percent. The job openings rate has held relatively steady since March 2009.

The hires rate (3.1 percent) and the separations rate (3.2 percent) were essentially unchanged in December.

The job openings rate has been 1.8 percent or 1.9 percent since March 2009. In

December, the job openings rate increased in state and local government and decreased in the Midwest. Over the 12 months ending in December, the job openings rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased for total nonfarm and total private and was unchanged in government. The job openings rate also decreased over that period in educational services and healthcare and social assistance and in the South and Midwest.

The hires rate was unchanged for the fifth consecutive month. The rate has hovered between 3 percent and 3.2 percent since Feb. 2009. After falling from the most recent

peak of 5.6 million hires in July 2006, the hires level reached a low point in June 2009 of 3.9 million. In Dec. 2009, the hires level was 4.1 million. The hires rate decreased in professional and business services and was essentially unchanged for all four regions. Over the 12 months ending in December, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm, total private and government. The hires rate increased for transportation, warehousing and utilities and was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

The total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased over the 12 months ending in December for total nonfarm and total private while the rate for government was little changed.

The quits rate decreased for total nonfarm and total private and was unchanged for government in December. The quits rate was essentially unchanged in all industries and all four regions. After falling from the most recent peak of 3.2 million in Dec. 2006, the number of quits has held steady at 1.8 million or 1.9 million since Feb. 2009. Over the 12 months ending in December, the quits rate (not seasonally adjusted) was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm and government and decreased for total private. The quits rate decreased in retail trade. The quits rate was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

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