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JOLTs: Openings & Hires Slowed

January 8, 2019
Bottom Line: The JOLTs report for November showed hiring and job openings retracing some of their earlier strong gains. The reported level of vacancies fell but left the November level still modestly above its 6- and 12-month average. Across all industries net hiring was still positive. The quit rate was unchanged at 2.3%, while the layoff & discharge rate was unchanged at 1.2%. The number of job openings as a % of short-term unemployed (less than 27 weeks) is now 150.6% vs. 152.0% vs last month. Overall there are some signs of a modest deceleration amid a very strong labor market.

Job Openings FELL by 243k in November to 6.888 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 7.1 million.

Government job openings FELL by 6k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 237k. Over the past 12 months, there were 957k more job openings , 2,231k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.

Job Hires FELL by 218k in November to 5.710 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 205k more job hires , 241k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 114k in November to 5.507 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 254k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.002 points from 0.831 to 0.829 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.847. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.02 points from 0.86 to 0.87 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.95. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.