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Signs that more people are hiring

Gregory Bull / AP

Satila Higgins, of Evansville, Ind., speaks with a prospective employer at a career fair in San Diego.

Looking for a job in a tough economy can feel like riding a roller coaster – one day things seem to be tumbling down, the next day things seem to be looking up.

Case in point: Despite the bad news last week showing the unemployment rate rose in November, a separate report out Tuesday offered more hope.

It showed that there the number of job openings increased again in October – to the highest level in more than two years -  while the number of job separations decreased.

And again in October, more people quit their jobs than were let go.

The number of people hired in October, at nearly 4.2 million, was about the same as the previous month and up somewhat from a year earlier, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.  

There were nearly 3.4 million job openings in October, up from about 3 million in September and around 2.5 million in October of 2009, according to the report. Although the government said that was the highest level since August 2008, it is still about 1 million fewer job openings than when the recession began in December of 2007.

About 4 million people left a job in October, down slightly from both last month and a year earlier. However, slightly more of those people quit than were laid off or discharged. That’s a sign that perhaps people are feeling more comfortable leaving a job for something better.

Despite this news, anyone who's looking knows the job market remains extremely tough. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in November, with more than 15 million people reporting that they were out of work and looking for a job.


More people quit than were laid off