Jan. 17 (Bloomberg) — Job openings in the United States climbed in November to the highest level in more than five years, a sign the labor market was picking up before the pause in the final month of 2013.

The number of positions waiting to be filled increased by 70,000 to 4 million, the most since March 2008, from a revised 3.93 million in October, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The pace of hiring was little changed, and more Americans quit their jobs.

A faster pace of hiring lays the ground for the income gains needed to spur consumer spending, which accounts for almost 70 percent of the economy. Data last week showed payrolls in December grew at the slowest pace since January 2011, indicating a temporary cooling in the job market that partly reflected bad weather.

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