Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BLS: Job Openings increased slightly in February

by Calculated Risk on 4/10/2012 10:20:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings in February was 3.5 million, little changed from January. Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.3 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the number of job openings has increased 46 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.
In February, the hires rate was essentially unchanged at 3.3 percent
for total nonfarm. ... The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. In February, the quits rate was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The
number of quits rose to 2.1 million in February from 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009, although it remained below the 2.9 million recorded when the recession began in December 2007.
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 is a new series and only 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.

Notice that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. 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 slightly in February, and the number of job openings (yellow) has generally been trending up, and are up about 16% year-over-year compared to February 2011.

Quits increased in February, and quits are now up about 9% year-over-year and quits are now at the highest level since 2008. These are voluntary separations and more quits might indicate some improvement in the labor market. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").
All current employment graphs