Wednesday, October 10, 2012

BLS: Job Openings "essentially unchanged" in August, Up year-over-year

by Bill McBride on 10/10/2012 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings in August was 3.6 million, essentially unchanged from July.
...
The level of total nonfarm job openings in August was up from 2.4 million at the end of the recession in June 2009. ... The number of job openings in August (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the year for total nonfarm and total private, and was little changed for government.
...
In August, the quits rate was unchanged for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of quits was 2.1 million in August, up from 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009. ... Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs.
The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series 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 August, the most recent employment report was for September.

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

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

Jobs openings decreased in August to 3.561 million, down slightly from 3.593 million in July. The number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, and openings are up about 13% year-over-year compared to August 2011.

Quits decreased slightly in August, and quits are up about 5% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations and more quits might indicate some improvement in the labor market. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

This suggests a gradually improving labor market.

All current employment graphs

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