Wednesday, September 08, 2010

BLS: Job Openings increases in July, Low Labor Turnover

by Bill McBride on 9/08/2010 10:00:00 AM

Note: The temporary decennial Census hiring and layoffs has distorted this series over the last few months. The total separations has increased, but that includes the temporary Census workers that were let go.

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 3.0 million job openings on the last business day of July 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 (3.4 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. In July, about 4.4 million people lost (or left) their jobs, and 4.23 million were hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy) for a loss of 168,000 jobs in July (this includes Census jobs lost).

The employment report (revised) showed a loss of only 54,000 jobs in July, and usually these numbers are pretty close, so this is a little puzzling. I expect some revisions to one or both reports.

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

It appears job openings are still trending up, however labor turnover is still fairly low.