JOLTs: Openings Edge Higher After Months of Contraction

December 17, 2019
Bottom Line: The reported level of job vacancies rose in October, but was still slightly below its 12-month average. Across all industries net hiring was still positive with total hires slower but still exceeding total separations. The quit rate was unchanged at to 2.3%, while the layoff & discharge rate fell slightly to 1.2%. The number of job openings as a % of short-term unemployed (less than 27 weeks) is now 158.3% vs. 157.8% vs last month. Overall, the report confirms the trend towards a slight deceleration in the labor market continued from overall very strong levels. Job Openings ROSE by 235k in October to 7.267 million, compared with market expectations for an increase to 7.009 million. Government job openings ROSE by 25k. Consequently, private sector job openings ROSE by 209k. Over the past 12 months, there were 326k more job openings , 2,610k more than the March 2007 pre-recession peak level. Job Hires FELL by 187k in October to 5.764 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 113k more job hires , 295k above their November 2006 pre-recession peak level. Job Separations FELL by 162k in October to 5.636 million. Over the past 12 months, there were 6k more job separations. The Hires to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.053 points from 0.846 to 0.793 and is slightly above its 12 month average of 0.792. The Number of Unemployed to Job openings ratio FELL by 0.01 points from 0.82 to 0.81 and is modestly below its 12 month average of 0.83. This ratio has been declining since its July 2009 peak of 6.7 amid some volatility.