Tuesday, February 06, 2018

BLS: Job Openings "Little changed" in December

by Bill McBride on 2/06/2018 10:08:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.8 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.5 million and 5.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs and discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. ...

The number of quits was little changed at 3.3 million in December. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government.
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 decreased in December to 5.811 million from 5.978 in November.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 4.9% year-over-year.

Quits are up 5.6% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Job openings are mostly moving sideways at a high level, and quits are increasing year-over-year.  This is a solid report.