WASHINGTON – Job openings rose in June to the highest level in more than 13 years, firming up the U.S. labor market picture for the second half of the year.
The number of unfilled positions climbed by 94,000 to 4.67 million, the most since February 2001, from a revised 4.58 million in May, a report from the Labor Department showed Tuesday.
Tuesday’s figures are among those on Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s labor-market “dashboard,” which she uses to help guide monetary policy. Rising openings, fewer firings and an increase in the number of people quitting their jobs would signal the improvement is broadening, which could prompt central bankers to raise interest rates faster.
The figures are “just one more factor that will input into the whole Fed calculus,” Kim Rupert, a Hillsborough, Calif.-based economist for Action Economics LLC, said before the report. “It will help build the case, but we’re still quite a ways off from Fed rate hikes.”