JOLTs: Job Openings Fell Further But Separations Fell Too

June 9, 2020
Bottom Line: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary offered more details into how shutdowns for the novel coronavirus impacted the labor market. Separations were sharply lower in April after massive layoffs in March. Hiring, though, fell further in April after March's declines. And total job openings fell. Given the enormous increase in jobless claims since the shutdowns, the job openings data were notable. Only back to levels last seen in 2015, openings potentially reveal that segments of the labor market (industries outside the most impacted by the shutdowns -- health care, construction, manufacturing, and hospitality) are still healthy and in need of skilled labor. Finally, as with all government data since the pandemic, sampling error is a concern as response rates were sharply lower than the historical average for this survey, as they were for last week's employment report. Job Openings FELL by 965k in April to 5.046 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 5.750 million. Government job openings FELL by 82k. Consequently, private-sector job openings FELL by 883k. Over the past 12 months, there were 2,238k more job openings. Job Hires FELL by 1587k in April to 3.524 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 2,476k more job hires , 1,945k below their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 4,755k in April to 9.888 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 4125k more job separations. The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.152 points from 0.850 to 0.698 and is moderately below its 12 month average of 0.823. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 3.39 points from 1.19 to 4.57 and is sharply above its 12 month average of 1.17.