Tuesday, February 08, 2011

BLS: Job Openings decline in December, Labor Turnover still Low

by Bill McBride on 2/08/2011 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings in December was 3.1 million, which was little changed from 3.2 million in November. Since the most recent series trough in July 2009, the level of job openings has risen by 0.7 million, or 31 percent.
The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (purple), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

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

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for December, the most recent employment report was for January.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image in graphics gallery.

Notice that hires (purple) and total separations (red and blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. When the purple line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs - when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

Note: The temporary decennial Census hiring and layoffs distorted this series last summer.

In December, about 4.162 million people lost (or left) their jobs, and 4.184 million were hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy) adding 20 thousand total jobs.

Even with the decline in December, job openings (yellow) are up significantly over the last year.

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