The Labor Department says the number of available jobs slipped 0.8 percent to 5.88 million, down from 5.93 million in October. September’s peak was 6.18 million.
Job openings are still 4.4 percent higher than a year ago. With the economy expanding at a solid pace and businesses confident about future demand, hiring is likely to remain solid going forward.
Still, the drop off echoes last Friday’s jobs report, which saw employers add 148,000 jobs in December. That is a decent total but lower than October and November job gains, which topped 200,000.
Economists forecast that hiring may slow this year as businesses struggle to find enough qualified workers.