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JOLTs: Sharp Rebound As Skills Gap Remains

May 7, 2019
Bottom Line: Job openings rebounded swiftly in March with positive revisions to February data. Openings increased significantly in the trade/transportation sector and construction. Hires and separations were mostly unchanged. The number of job openings as a % of short-term unemployed (less than 27 weeks) is now 152.6% vs. 143.9% vs last month. Overall this reveals a continued tight labor market with a significant skills gap. Over the last 12 months hires totaled 69.3 million, a net employment gain of 2.7 million with 66.6 million separations.

Job Openings ROSE by 346k in March to 7.488 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 7.350 million.

Government job openings FELL by 17k. Consequently, private sector job openings ROSE by 363k. Over the past 12 months, there were 594k more job openings , 2,831k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.

Job Hires FELL by 35k in March to 5.660 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 35k more job hires , 191k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 142k in March to 5.434 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 12k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.042 points from 0.797 to 0.756 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.781.

The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.04 points from 0.87 to 0.83 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.84. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.