Job openings increased in January as U.S. labor market improved

Job openings in the U.S. rose in January, rebounding from a slump the prior month and showing the labor market will keep making progress in 2013.

The number of positions waiting to be filled climbed by 81,000 to 3.69 million from a revised 3.61 million the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Hiring also picked up while firings slowed.

Budding job opportunities suggest companies are gearing up for stronger demand in 2013, which would help the nation’s 7.7% unemployment rate drift lower throughout the year. Job gains also indicate businesses weren’t discouraged by political bickering as Congress debated how to cut the budget deficit.

“We’ve got a long way to go to get back to a fully employed economy, but we are on the road,” James Glassman, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said during an interview on Bloomberg Radio. “If you look at the labor market data, you can’t find any evidence of this political debate that is going on, the fiscal cliff, all that.”

Bloomberg News

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