Tuesday, February 11, 2020

BLS: Job Openings "Fell" to 6.4 Million in December

by Calculated Risk on 2/11/2020 10:06:00 AM

Notes: In December there were 6.423 million job openings, and, according to the December Employment report, there were 5.753 million unemployed. So, for the twenty-second 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 5 years).

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings fell to 6.4 million (-364,000) 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 5.7 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively. ...

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million and the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. Quits decreased in retail trade (-111,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-20,000).
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 decreased in December to 6.423 million from 6.787 million in November.

The number of job openings (yellow) are down 14% year-over-year.

Quits are up 2.9% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Job openings are at a solid level, but have been declining - and are down 14% year-over-year.  Quits are still increasing year-over-year.