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More jobs open, more people quitting

The number of available jobs posted by U.S. employers rose in December to the highest level in 14 years, a sign recent strong job gains will likely continue. Employers also filled more jobs and more employees quit, two additional signs of an improving labor market. Job openings rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5 million, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That is the most since January 2001. Total hires also increased 1.9 percent to 5.1 million, the most in more than seven years. The number of quits rose 2.1 percent to 2.7 million. More quits are a sign of confidence in the economy, because people typically quit when they have another job lined up, usually at higher pay, or are optimistic they can find a new position. More openings are usually followed by greater hiring. Businesses appear increasingly confident the economy will continue to improve and are seeking more staff to meet stronger demand.