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JOLTs: Job Openings Fall But Hiring Ticker Higher

September 10, 2019
Bottom Line: Job openings fell for the second straight month and were revised sharply lower for prior months. While still at historically high levels, the number of job openings has been steadily falling since late last year. Hiring, while mostly sideways in the last nine months, has shown hints of acceleration in the last few reports. This is likely emblematic of a tight labor market, where employers are not posting as many openings after years of being unable to find skilled labor. That said, the increase in hires to job openings is always an important early indicator of weakness -- this bears watching in the context of other labor indicators going forward.

Job Openings FELL by 31k in July to 7.217 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 7.331 million.

Government job openings FELL by 26k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 5k. Over the past 12 months, there were 225k more job openings, 2,560k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.

Job Hires ROSE by 237k in July to 5.953 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 120k more job hires , 484k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations ROSE by 246k in July to 5.759 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 84k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.036 points from 0.789 to 0.825 and is modestly above its 12 month average of 0.782. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.02 points from 0.82 to 0.84 and is modestly above its 12 month average of 0.83. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.