Tuesday, April 09, 2013

BLS: Job Openings increased in February, Most since May 2008

by Bill McBride on 4/09/2013 10:05:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 3.9 million job openings on the last business day of February, up from 3.6 million in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.3 percent) and separations rate (3.1 percent) were little changed in February. ...
...
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 number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) rose over the 12 months ending in February for total nonfarm and was essentially unchanged for total private and government.
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 February, the most recent employment report was for March.

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 increased in February to 3.925 million, up from 3.611 million in January. The number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, and openings are up 11% year-over-year compared to February 2012.  This is most job openings since May 2008.

Quits were unchanged in February, and quits are up 7% year-over-year and at the highest level since 2008. 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.

Last 10 Posts