WASHINGTON (2/11/15)--December witnessed the fastest rate of hiring in eight years, posting 5.1 million hired workers for the month after a gain of 5 million in November, according to numbers from Bureau of Labor Statistics (Economy.com Feb. 10).
Job openings also climbed in the last month of 2014 by 5 million positions, up from 4.8 million the prior month. Further, 4.9 million workers quit their jobs, up from 4.7 million in November.
"The number of job openings has risen steadily and is at its highest in 14 years," said Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "According to the Moody's analytics business confidence survey and the National Federation of Independent Business survey, a rising share of employers are actively seeking to expand their staffing."
The job openings rate climbed to 3.5%, which surpasses the high of the last economic expansion in the mid-2000s. The hire rate rose to 3.7%, but falls just short of the rapid hiring rate seen in that same time period.
Construction (6.4%) and leisure/hospitality (6.2%) saw the strongest hiring rates in December.
While more workers quit their jobs in December month-over-month--a sign that there's more confidence in the strength of the labor market--the quit rate was unchanged at 1.9%.
The layoff rate, meanwhile, remained at the historically low level of 1.2%.
"Separations were a mirror image of hiring, with increased separations in the South and Northeast and declining separations in the Midwest," Koropeckyj said. "This suggests that churn is driving much of the labor market dynamics."