Tuesday, February 09, 2016

BLS: Jobs Openings increased in December

by Bill McBride on 2/09/2016 10:09:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings increased to 5.6 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were little changed at 5.4 million and 5.1 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was 2.1 percent, and the layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1 percent. ...
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. ... There were 3.1 million quits in December, up from November. The number of quits is now higher than in December 2007 (2.8 million), the first month of the recession.
emphasis added
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.

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 December to 5.607 million from 5.346 million in November.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 15% year-over-year compared to December 2014.

Quits are up 13% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

This is a solid report.  Job openings are just below the record high set in July 2015, and Quits are up 13% year-over-year.