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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Job Openings & Labor Turnovers: 3.8 People per Job Opening

Fewer Layoffs and Separations, More Job Openings, More People Quitting.

But still 3.8 Jobseekers for every job! 

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) for the month of December 2011.  This report always runs a month behind the regular monthly Employment Situation Report.

This report continues the good news of recent jobs reports and shows that fewer people are being laid off, more people are quitting and that there are more job openings than there were in November.

3.8 Jobseekers for Every Job:  How does that get computed?

However, we still have 3.78 jobseekers for every job opening out there.  (This peaked at approximately 6.5 jobseekers for every worker back in summer of 2009.)  Yes, it is an improvement from 4.1 last month and 4.2 the month before, but, if every job opening were filled tomorrow, we'd still have over 9,000,000 people out of work. 

We have not had such a high number of job openings since summer of 2008, so we are going in the right direction.. but we still have quite a distance to go.   We had over 4 million job openings during 2006 and throughout most of 2007. 

We have to fudge a little to get the "Jobseekers for every job" number because the JOLTS numbers are released a month after the monthly Employment Situation report numbers.  The latest monthly employment report, for January  2012, showed 12,758,000 people officially unemployed.  Divide that by the number of job openings on the latest JOLTS report (for December 2011), which is 3,376,000.  Voila.. we have a jobseekers-to-jobs ratio of 3.78.       

Why is it good that people quit?  

As I wrote above, the number of people quitting is again climbing.  That  either means that people already have a new job or they are confident that they will soon get one.  That's always a good thing for the labor market as a whole.

The Numbers:

  • Job Openings:  3,376,000 (vs. 3,118,000 in November)
  • Hires:  4,036,000 (vs. 4.132,000 in November)
  • Total Separations (includes Layoffs, Discharges, Quits and "other"):  3,909,000 (vs. 3,986,000 in November)
  • Layoffs:  1,644,000 (vs. 1,718,000 in November)
  • Quits:  1,955,000 and 49% of "separations" (vs. 1,926,000 and 48% of separations in November)
Best Regions for Job Openings and Hiring:
  • The South for job openings.
  • The South and the Midwest for hiring.
  • The South has the most "separations".
  • The South has the most "quits".
  • The South and the Midwest have the most layoffs.

Best Industries for Job Openings and Hiring:
  • Job openings:  Business and professional services and accommodations and food services.
  • Hires:  Arts, entertainment, and recreation, leisure and hospitality, and construction. 
Most separations?
  • Same as above:  Arts, entertainment, and recreation, leisure and hospitality, and construction.

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