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Consumer Sentiment Remained Elevated to Start 2020

Consumer sentiment was buoyant in January amid record stock prices and a robust job market. The University of Michigan’s preliminary sentiment index for January moved down to 99.1 from a seven-month high of 99.3 in December. The gauge of current conditions rose a bit to 115.8 while the expectations index edged down to 88.3.

Fairly strong sentiment signals consumers are poised to help drive the record-long economic expansion even as business investment remains lackluster. Still, the decline is the first since August, suggesting growth will stay moderate at the beginning of 2020 after cooling at the end of last year.

Staffing as a Mission Acquires DATalent

Nashville-based Staffing as a Mission LLC has acquired Franklin, TN-based DATalent LLC. The transaction will grow Staffing as a Mission’s national footprint. The company focuses on the technology and health care sectors. DATalent focuses on staffing information technology workers for clients across the Southeast. Terms of the transaction were not revealed.

Job Openings Record Biggest Drop Since 2015

Job openings were down sharply in November—notching the biggest drop in more than four years—while hiring rose moderately. Job openings declined by 561,000 to 6.8 million, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was the largest decline since August 2015, pushing job openings to their lowest level since March 2018.

Economists said the drop in vacancies and moderate hiring possibly were signaling that companies were throttling back demand for employees. Yet job openings remain fairly high.

The number of people voluntarily quitting their jobs was little changed at 3.5 million in November, and the quits rate was 2.3% for the third consecutive month. Economists consider the quits rate a measure of job market confidence.