New record: fewer Americans quitting jobs

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
A job seeker looks at advertised positions at the Career Link Center in San Francisco.

There are job openings out there. In January, there were nearly 3 million of them.

And contrary to popular perception, Americans are not exiting current jobs any faster than they were a year ago.

You read that right. The 4.9 million total job separations in January were the same (actually 4,000 lower) than the January 2008 total, according to a report released Tuesday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Quitters no longer

True, layoffs were up. But the number of Americans voluntary quitting their job was down to 2.0 million. That's down 37 percent from the high reached in December 2006 and the lowest number ever recorded in the eight years since the BLS has been tracking the figures.

Fewer "quits" is not necessarily good news.

"People are less willing to leave their current job," says BLS economist Kim Riley, because they're worried they won't find a new one.

Jobs still available

Still, jobs are out there. In the past week alone (ending Sunday), in Boston posted 2,031 new openings, including 22 engineering, 33 finance, and 78 real estate jobs.

One favorite: "$125,000 Salary for Master Latin Teachers."

More than $100K for teaching? Where's the catch (other than having to move to New York and, well, knowing Latin)?

Caveat emptor.

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