More good news on jobs

Job openings rose in September to the second-highest level in the history of the series, the Labor Department reported this morning. Job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 5.53 million from 5.38 million in August.

The rate of people quitting their jobs — an important proxy of worker confidence, since it shows the willingness to look for another job — was 1.9% for the sixth consecutive month.

The Labor Department also reported that new claims for unemployment insurance benefits held steady last week, close to a four-decade low as the jobs market firms.

Initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, totaled 276,000 in the week ending November 7, the same as the previous week.

“With indicators of hiring still extremely strong, outside the small manufacturing sector, claims are consistent with 250,000-plus payrolls,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

“As a share of the employment, claims have never been lower, presumably because firms don’t want to let people go, given the difficulty they report in finding qualified staff.”