Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BLS: Low Labor Turnover, More Hiring in March

by Bill McBride on 5/11/2010 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 2.7 million job openings on the last business day of March 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate was unchanged over the month at 2.0 percent. The hires rate (3.3 percent) was little changed, and the separations rate (3.1 percent) was unchanged in March.
Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. The CES (Current Employment Statistics, payroll survey) is for positions, the CPS (Current Population Survey, commonly called the household survey) is for people.

The following graph shows job openings (purple), hires (blue), Total separations (include layoffs, discharges and quits) (red) and Layoff, Discharges and other (yellow) from the JOLTS.

Unfortunately this is a new series and only started in December 2000.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Notice that hires (blue) and separations (red) are pretty close each month. This is the level of turnover each month. Right now about 4 million people lose their jobs each month, and a little over 4 million are hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy).

When the hires (blue line) is above total separations (as in March), the economy is adding net jobs, when the blue line is below total separations, the economy is losing net jobs.

According to the JOLTS report, there were 4.242 million hires in March (SA), and 4.016 million total separations, or 226 thousand net jobs gained. The comparable CES report showed a gain of 230 thousand jobs in March (after revision).

Layoffs and discharges have declined sharply from early 2009 - and that is a good sign.

Hiring picked up in March, although the number of job openings is still very low, as is the turnover rate.

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