Tuesday, April 08, 2014

BLS: Jobs Openings increase to 4.2 million in February

by Bill McBride on 4/08/2014 10:00:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

There were 4.2 million job openings on the last business day of February, up from January, 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) was little changed over the 12 months ending in February for total nonfarm, 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.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market 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 4.173 million from 3.874 million in January.   

The number of job openings (yellow) is up 4% year-over-year compared to February 2013.

Quits increased in February and are up about 5% 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 over 4 million and at the highest level since January 2008.

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