Tuesday, November 09, 2010

BLS: Job Openings decrease slightly in September, Low Labor Turnover

by Calculated Risk on 11/09/2010 10:23:00 AM

Note: The temporary decennial Census hiring and layoffs distorted this series over the summer months.

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings in September was 2.9 million, which was little changed from August. Although the month-to-month change is small, the number of job openings in September was 25 percent higher than the number at the most recent series trough in July 2009.
Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. The CES (Current Employment Statistics, payroll survey) is for positions, the CPS (Current Population Survey, commonly called the household survey) is for people.

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (purple), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

Unfortunately this is a new series and only started in December 2000.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Notice that hires (purple) and total separations (red and blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. When the purple line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs - when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

In September, about 4.19 million people lost (or left) their jobs, and 4.19 million were hired (this is the labor turnover in the economy) for no change in total jobs.

Note: I think this graph makes a key point: The change in net jobs each month is small compared to the overall labor turnover. Over 4 million jobs were lost in September (seasonally adjusted) and over 4 million people were hired!

Although job openings declined slightly in September, it appears job openings are still trending up. However overall labor turnover is still low.