U.S. job openings increased modestly in October and layoffs rose, strengthening views that the labor recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was slowing.

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased to 6.65 million on the last day of October from 6.49 million the prior month, the Labor Department said on Wednesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. Vacancies are below their 7 million level in February.

The job openings rate edged up to 4.5% from 4.4% in September. Layoffs increased 243,000 to 1.7 million. That included 91,000 layoffs in the federal government, largely due to the discharge of temporary workers hired for the 2020 Census.

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