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JOLTs: Another Record Opening Tally In April

June 8, 2021
Bottom Line:  A record 9.3 million job openings were unfilled in April as total hiring barely inched higher. While lagged relative to other reports, the Job Openings, and Labor Turnover Summary reveal details about the labor market recovery that point to a tight market. Job openings were plentiful in the first four months of 2021 and rose substantially more than hiring. There are many anecdotal reasons for the record low level of hiring relative to openings, including:
  1. continued supplemental unemployment insurance in many states that can offer some money than they could earn returning to work;
  2. childcare issues with schools having been only partially open in many parts of the country and summer care programs in flux;
  3. skills gaps as employers require skills that many unemployed lack; and, 
  4. normal frictional unemployment that economists would expect after a period of rapid, massive layoffs.
Some of these factors will resolve themselves by September and October as supplemental benefits expire in September and schools reopen.  But we will never have complete data to prove or disprove the hypothesis; we'll just be putting stories on the data.  These factors will be studied for decades to come.  For now, expect short-term wage pressures as employers try to provide training programs and incentives for workers to return.  That said, there is not yet enough evidence to suggest lasting wage pressure from the current labor market tightness.
Job Openings ROSE by 998k in April to 9.286 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 8.200 million.
Government job openings
ROSE by 70k. Consequently, private-sector job openings ROSE by 928k. Over the past 12 months, there were 4,656k more job openings.
Job Hires R
OSE by 69k in April to 6.075 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 2,133k more job hires. Job Separations ROSE by 324k in April to 5.760 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 6022k more job separations.
The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.070 points from 0.725 to 0.654 and is sharply below its 12 month average of 0.898. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.11 points from 1.17 to 1.06 and is sharply below its 12 month average of 1.91.