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JOLTs: Concerning Signals For Labor Markets

October 9, 2019

Bottom Line: Job openings fell for the third straight month and were revised lower again for prior months. While still at historically high levels, the number of job openings has been steadily falling since late last year. Hiring is starting to show hints of concern. After strong gains in July, total hires fell in August, bringing the four-month average to net negative 212k. Finallly, 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 123k in August to 7.051 million, compared with market expectations for a decline to 7.250 million.

Government job openings ROSE by 19k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 142k. Over the past 12 months, there were 291k more job openings , 2,394k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level.

Job Hires FELL by 199k in August to 5.779 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 47k more job hires , 310k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 172k in August to 5.638 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 38k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.014 points from 0.833 to 0.820 and is modestly above its 12 month average of 0.785. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.01 points from 0.85 to 0.86 and is modestly above its 12 month average of 0.83.

Article by Contingent Macro Advisors