U.S. job openings at highest level since 2001
Vacancies in the U.S. rose to 4.7 million in June, up from 4.6 million in May
The future looks bright for Americans in search of employment, according to a closely-watched measure of the U.S. job market.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Tuesday its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It said job openings in the U.S. rose to 4.7 million in June, up a bit from 4.6 million in May.
That puts the reading at pre-recession levels, and job openings at their highest level since early 2001.
"Overall this is a further sign to expect ongoing strength in nonfarm payrolls over the rest of 2014," said Scotiabank economist Derek Holt in a note. "Vacancies lead the turning points in total nonfarm employment."
The report also showed that 2.53 million Americans quit a job in June compared to 2.49 million who did so in May.
An increase in both vacancies and in quits point to a strengthening job market. When firms post more job openings, it indicates business is growing. When workers voluntarily quit their job, it likely means they're confident enough in the market that they'll find another position.
The JOLTS report is one of the gauges often cited by Janet Yellen, Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and will likely be on her radar at next week's Jackson Hole symposium, an annual gathering of central bankers.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Labor Department also reported the economy added 209,000 jobs in July. That marked the sixth straight month of solid growth. The combined jobs reports could spur the Fed to raise interest rates earlier than expected.