Tuesday, June 08, 2010

BLS: Low Labor Turnover, Job Openings Increase in April

by Bill McBride on 6/08/2010 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 3.1 million job openings on the last business day of April 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate increased over the month to 2.3 percent. The hires rate (3.3 percent) and the separations rate (3.1 percent) were unchanged.
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. Right now about 4 million people lose their jobs each month, and over 4 million are hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy).

When the hires (blue line) is above total separations (as in April), 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 4.304 million hires in April (SA), and 4.000 million total separations, or 304 thousand net jobs gained. The comparable CES report showed a gain of 290 thousand jobs in April (after revision).

Note: Hires include Census 2010 temporary hires.

Layoffs and discharges have declined sharply from early 2009 - and are near a series low - and that is a good sign. And the number of job openings increased sharply in April, although the level is still pretty low.

Job openings and "layoffs and discharges" have been improving, but the overall labor turnover is still low.

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