JOLTs: Job Openings Inch Lower As Trend Losses Momentum

August 6, 2019
Bottom Line: Job openings slid slightly after positive revisions to prior data. The overall level of job openings remains near cycle highs, though, and the trend is sideways at this point. Hires also remain near cycle highs but have been moving mostly sideways for nearly two years. Across all industries net hiring was still positive. The quit rate was unchanged at to 2.3%, while the layoff & discharge rate fell slightly to 1.1%. Overall the report shows a labor market that remains strong but is now stabilizing with a substantial "skills gap" between openings and hires as businesses struggle to find labor with the right skills for their openings. Job Openings FELL by 36k in June to 7.348 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 7.326 million. Government job openings ROSE by 15k. Consequently, private sector job openings FELL by 51k. Over the past 12 months, there were 45k more job openings, 2,691k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level. Job Hires FELL by 58k in June to 5.702 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 131k more job hires, 233k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 76k in June to 5.481 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 84k more job separations. The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.004 points from 0.780 to 0.776 and is slightly below its 12 month average of 0.778. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio ROSE by 0.02 points from 0.80 to 0.81 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.82. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.