BLS: Job Openings "Little changed" in October

by Bill McBride on 12/11/2017 10:06:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.0 million on the last business day of October, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires increased to 5.6 million and
separations were little changed at 5.2 million. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs and
discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. …

The number of quits was unchanged at 3.2 million in October. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The
number of quits was little changed for total private, for government, and in all industries. In the regions,
the number of quits increased in the South and decreased in the Midwest.
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for October, the most recent employment report was for November.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

Jobs openings decreased in October to 5.996 million from 6.177 in September.

The number of job openings (yellow) are up 7.3% year-over-year.

Quits are up 3.3% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

Job openings are mostly moving sideways at a high level, and quits are increasing year-over-year.  This is a solid report.