Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Job openings held near a13-year high in September, a sign the pickup in hiring may besustained through year-end.

The number of positions waiting to be filled eased to 4.74million, second only to August’s 4.85 million as the highest sinceJanuary 2001, the Labor Department reported today in Washington.The rate of hiring matched the strongest since the recession beganand the number of Americans quitting their jobs also increased.

More openings reinforce signs that the labor market’s recoveryis gaining traction, with job gains on pace for their bestperformance since 1999 and the unemployment rate at its lowest inmore than six years. The figures are among those that FederalReserve Chair Janet Yellen uses to assess the employment pictureand judge whether the economy is healthy enough to withstand a risein interest rates.

“It’s all trending in the right direction” in the labor market,Brett Ryan, U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in NewYork, said before the report. “We still remain pretty positivehere.”

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