Thursday, March 11, 2021

BLS: Job Openings "Changed Little" at 6.9 Million in January

by Calculated Risk on 3/11/2021 10:12:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings changed little at 6.9 million on the last business day of January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires were little changed at 5.3 million while total separations decreased to 5.3 million. Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate changed little at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
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 usually 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.

The huge spikes in layoffs and discharges in March and April 2020 are labeled, but off the chart to better show the usual data.

Jobs openings increased in January to 6.917 million from 6.752 million in December.

The number of job openings (yellow) were down 3.3% year-over-year.  Note that job openings were declining a year ago prior to the pandemic.

Quits were down 7.2% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for "quits").