job openings up in augustJob openings in the climbed to a 13-year high in August as employers gained confidence about the outlook for demand in the world’s biggest economy. The number of positions waiting to be filled rose to 4.84 million in August, the most since January 2001, from a revised 4.61 million the prior month, the Labor Department has reported. Hiring and firings cooled, while fewer people quit their jobs.

The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 4.7 million openings after a previously reported 4.67 million in July.

The number of job openings increased for total private and was little changed for government in August. (See table 1.) Job openings levels went up in nondurable goods manufacturing, health care and social assistance, and in accommodation and food services.  Job openings fell in state and local government and were little changed in all four regions.

There were 4.6 million hires in August, down from 4.9 million in July and the rate was 3.3 percent. The number of hires decreased for total private and was little changed for government. Hires decreased over the month in construction and retail trade and also in the South region.

Over the 12 months ending in August 2014, hires totaled 56.2 million and separations totaled 53.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.5 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

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