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JOLTs: Openings Fall But Trend Still Towards Tighter Labor Markets

November 6, 2018
Bottom Line: The reported level of vacancies fell modestly in September after accelerating to record highs in August. The September level is still sharply above its 6- and 12-month average, suggesting labor markets are still tight with record levels of job openings. Across all industries net hiring was still positive. The quit rate was unchanged at 2.4%, while the layoff & discharge rate fell slightly to 1.1%. The number of job openings as a % of short-term unemployed (less than 27 weeks) is now 153.0% vs. 148.8% vs last month, suggesting labor markets will remain tight.

Job Openings FELL by 284k in September to 7.009 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 7085.000 million.

Government job openings FELL by 96k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 188k. Over the past 12 months, there were 780k more job openings , 2,352k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.

Job Hires FELL by 162k in September to 5.744 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 369k more job hires , 275k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 112k in September to 5.667 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 321k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.010 points from 0.810 to 0.820 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.863.

The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio was nearly unchanged at 0.85 and is moderately below its 12 month average of 0.99. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.