Friday, November 22, 2013

BLS: Job Openings "little changed" in September

by Bill McBride on 11/22/2013 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 3.9 million job openings on the last business day of September, little changed from August, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.4 percent) and separations rate (3.2 percent) were little changed in September. ...
...
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. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. ... The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the 12 months ending in September for total nonfarm and total private, and was little changed for government. The number of quits rose in several industries. Over the year, quits increased in the Midwest, South, and West regions.
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 September, the most recent employment report was for October.

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 September to 3.913 million from 3.844 million in August.  The number of job openings (yellow) is up 8.6% year-over-year compared to September 2012 and openings are at the highest level since early 2008.

Quits were mostly unchanged in September and are up about 18% 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 - and the data is noisy month-to-month, but the general trend suggests a gradually improving labor market.