Tuesday, March 17, 2020

BLS: Job Openings increased to 7.0 Million in January

by Calculated Risk on 3/17/2020 10:19:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings rose to 7.0 million (+411,000) on the last business day of January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.6 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 January at 3.5 million and the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. The quits level was little changed for total private but fell for government (-18,000). Quits decreased in other services (-46,000), state and local government education (-12,000), and federal government (-5,000). The quits level increased in real estate and rental and leasing (+14,000).
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 January, the most recent employment report was for February.

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 January to 6.963 million from 6.552 million in December.

The number of job openings (yellow) are down 7% year-over-year.

Quits are up slightly 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 7% year-over-year.  Quits are still increasing year-over-year.   However this was for January - the picture will change sharply in March and April.