U.S. Job Openings Flat in September Following Storms

U.S. employers posted roughly the same number of open jobs in September as the previous month, partly because hurricanes held back hiring at restaurants and hotels.

Figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Labor Department revealed that 6.09 million jobs were available at the end of September, slightly below the record high of 6.14 million reached in July. The number of open jobs in restaurants and hotels fell 111,000 from August. That reflects widespread damage in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which struck many vacation spots in Texas, Florida and other southeastern states.

Overall, thousands of businesses were closed, which likely held back hiring. Total hires fell 2.7% to 5.27 million in September, the lowest in five months.

Excluding the storms' impact, the job market remains mostly healthy. Washington said last week that employers added 261,000 jobs in October. That partly reflected a recovery in hiring after the hurricanes dragged down job gains in September.

October's figure is a net gain after layoffs, quits and retirements are subtracted from overall hiring. Tuesday's data is from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey, or JOLTS, for short. They are more detailed and provide a fuller view of the job market than the monthly jobs report.

The two reports paint a picture of employers struggling to fill jobs in tight labor market. The unemployment rate south of the border fell to 4.1% in October, the lowest in 17 years.