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U.S. job openings rise to 14-year high

Christopher S. RugaberAssociated Press

Washington — The number of available jobs posted by U.S. employers rose in December to the highest level in 14 years, a sign recent strong job gains will likely continue.

The Labor Department says job openings rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5 million, the most since January 2001. Total hires also increased 1.9 percent to 5.1 million.

More Americans also quit their jobs, a sign of confidence in the labor market, because people typically quit when they have another job lined up, usually at higher pay.

The figures echo last week’s monthly jobs report, which showed that businesses are adding jobs at a robust pace and even paying more to attract workers. Employers added 257,000 jobs in January, and wages rose at the fastest one-month pace in six years.