Tuesday, April 07, 2020

BLS: Job Openings decreased to 6.9 Million in February

by Calculated Risk on 4/07/2020 10:08:00 AM

Note: This is pre-crisis data.

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.9 million on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 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 1.2 percent. ...

In February, the number of quits was little changed at 3.5 million while the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. Total private quits were little changed while the quits level edged up for government (+15,000). Quits decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-27,000).
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 February, the most recent employment report was for March.

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 February to 6.882 million from 7.012 million in January.

The number of job openings (yellow) were down 2% year-over-year.

Quits were down 1% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").

Job openings were at a solid level, but had been declining recently.  Quits were mostly flat year-over-year.

However this was for February - the picture will change sharply in March and April.