Tuesday, February 12, 2019

BLS: Job Openings Increased to Series High 7.3 Million in December

by Bill McBride on 2/12/2019 10:05:00 AM

Notes: In December there were 7.335 million job openings, and, according to the December Employment report, there were 6.294 million unemployed. So, for the ninth consecutive month, there were more job openings than people unemployed. Also note that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of hires since January 2015 (almost 4 years).

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings reached a series high of 7.3 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 5.9 million and 5.5 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent. ...

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The quits level was little changed for total private but decreased for government (-18,000).
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 7.335 million from 7.166 million in November.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 29% year-over-year.

Quits are up 4% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Job openings remain at a high level, and quits are still increasing year-over-year. This was a solid report.