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JOLTs: Openings Remained Stunningly High

December 8, 2021
Bottom Line:  Job openings were back over 11 million as hiring momentum eased in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey. While lagged relative to other reports, the JOLTS revealed details about the labor market recovery that continued to point to a tight market. Hiring eased slightly in October as total separations fell moderately. The quit rate fell slightly to 2.8%, while the layoff & discharge rate was unchanged at 0.9%. October was the first month in five in which separations declined. Employees have felt empowered to leave jobs amid tight labor market conditions - but these October data don't appear to be a significant trend changer yet. Separations decreased in finance and insurance and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities, sectors offering increased incentives to retain employees. Overall, employers continue to struggle to find workers with the right skills, and those willing and able to work remain very selective.
Job Openings ROSE by 431k in October to 11.033 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 10.469 million. Government job openings FELL by 74k. Consequently, private-sector job openings ROSE by 504k. Over the past 12 months, there were 4,160k more job openings.
Job Hires
FELL by 82k in October to 6.464 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 429k more job hires. Job Separations FELL by 255k in October to 5.892 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 465k more job separations.

The Hires to Job openings ratio
FELL by 0.032 points from 0.617 to 0.586 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.679.
The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.05 points from 0.72 to 0.67 and is sharply below its 12 month average of 1.09.