U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, a sign the American labor market remains hot and a blow to the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool it off.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that openings were up from 10.4 million in November. Economists had expected job openings to drop slightly in December.
The American job market has been surprisingly resilient throughout this period of economic uncertainty.
Employers created 375,000 jobs a month in 2022 — second most in Labor Department records dating back to 1940 — and likely added another 185,000 last month, according to a survey of forecasters by the data firm FactSet. January’s hiring numbers come out Friday.
Hiring has remained strong even in the face of rising interest rates. Combating inflation that last year hit a four-decade high, the Federal Reserve has hiked its benchmark rate seven times since March and was expected to announce another rate increase later Wednesday.
The central bank is hoping to cool the job market and ease upward pressure on wages that feed into inflation. The Fed’s rate hikes are expected to slow the economy and perhaps cause a recession later this year.