Tuesday, February 11, 2014

BLS: 4 Million Jobs Openings in December

by Bill McBride on 2/11/2014 10:46:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 4.0 million job openings on the last business day of December, little changed from November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. ...
...
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) increased over the 12 months ending in December for total nonfarm and total private and was little changed for 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 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 slightly in December to 3.990 million from 4.033 million in November.   

The number of job openings (yellow) is up 10.5% year-over-year compared to December 2012.

Quits increased in December and are up about 12% 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.  It is a good sign that job openings are close to 4.0 million and are at 2005 levels - and that quits (mostly voluntary separations) are up sharply year-over-year.

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