Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BLS: Job Openings "little changed" in December

by Bill McBride on 2/12/2013 10:05:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 3.6 million job openings on the last business day of December, little changed from November ...

The level of total nonfarm job openings was 2.4 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.
...
The number of quits was 2.2 million in December compared to 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.
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 December, the most recent employment report was for January.

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 December to 3.617 million, down from 3.790 million in November. The number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, but openings are only up 2% year-over-year compared to December 2011.

Quits decreased slightly in December, and quits are up 7% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Not much changes month-to-month in this report, but the trend suggests a gradually improving labor market.

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