US job openings surged to a record high in December, led by vacancies in the construction, accommodation and food services sectors, which could bolster views that the economy is experiencing a dearth of workers.
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased by 169,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.3 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, on Tuesday. That was the highest level since the series started in 2000.
The job openings rate climbed to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent in November. Hiring rose to 5.9 million from 5.8 million in November. Anecdotal evidence has been growing of companies experiencing difficulties finding workers, a phenomenon that economists expect will slow down job growth this year.