(CN) – The Labor Department said Tuesday that U.S. job openings fell slightly in November, but the amount of available positions still exceeds the number of unemployed Americans.
There were 6.9 million open jobs at the end of November, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. That is a 3.4 percent decline from the previous month but is 16 percent higher than a year prior.
With 6 million Americans unemployed, the amount of job openings in the U.S. still outpaces the number of people actively looking for work, continuing a trend that began last March for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Tuesday’s report on open jobs follows last week’s announcement that American employers added a robust 312,000 jobs in December, beating expectations and easing fears of a recession. Analysts had predicted only about 180,000 job gains.
The spike in hiring coincided with a 3.2 percent increase in the average hourly pay rate last month.