Tuesday, May 08, 2018

BLS: Job Openings Increased in March to New Series High

by Bill McBride on 5/08/2018 10:07:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings increased to 6.6 million on the last business day of March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.4 million and 5.3 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 1.1 percent. ...

The number of quits edged up to 3.3 million in March. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The number of quits edged up for total private and was unchanged for government. Quits increased in other services (+71,000). The number of quits increased in the Midwest region.
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 March, the most recent employment report was for April.

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 March to 6.550 million from 6.078 in February.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 16.8% year-over-year.

Quits are up 6.3% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Job openings are at the highest level since this series started, and quits are increasing year-over-year. This was a strong report.