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JOLTs: Growth In Job Openings Lost Momentum in Late 2017

February 6, 2018

Bottom Line: The trend towards stronger growth in job openings lost momentum in late '17. This December data showed a moderate decline in job openings and slight decline in total hires. While the labor market still remains strong, the hires to job openings ratio appears to be in the process of bottoming, a typical late-cycle phenomena but by no means a sign of any weakness yet. Nonetheless, the trend in job openings bears watching.

Job Openings FELL by 167k in December to 5.811 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 5960.500 million.

Government job openings ROSE by 10k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 176k. Over the past 12 months, there were 272k more job openings , 1,154k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.
Job Hires FELL by 5k in December to 5.488 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 185k more job hires , 19k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level.

Job Separations ROSE by 26k in December to 5.238 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 154k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.026 points from 0.919 to 0.944 and is modestly above its 12 month average of 0.912.

The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.02 points from 1.11 to 1.13 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 1.18. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.

Article by Contingent Macro Advisors