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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey: April 2012

3.66 jobseekers for every job in April 2012.

Summary for April 2012:

Fewer separations; but hiring and job openings down slightly over last two months peaks, layoffs up slightly.  A net increase of 89,000 hires over separations for the month of April 2012.  A total of 799,000 new hires over separations for the year of 2012 to date.

But Jobseekers to Jobs rise to 3.66 Jobseekers for every job after reaching a post-recession low of 3.39 last month. 

This morning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the JOLTS report (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) for the month of April 2012.  This report always runs a month behind the regular monthly Employment Situation Report.

While this month shows a drop in job openings and hires, both of these numbers are higher than they were a year ago, and we continue to have more hires than we have layoffs and separations.

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

However, we still have 3.66 jobseekers for every job opening out there.  (This peaked at approximately 6.7 jobseekers for every worker back in summer of 2009.)  The 3.66 is an improvement from 2011, last year, in which the number was over 4.0 for every month except December, but, if every job opening were filled tomorrow, we'd still have over 9,000,000 people out of work. 

The average number of job openings this year has been as high as that in early 2008, and it has been trending upwards, despite some dips and trips.  It now stands at 3,400,000.  (We had over 4 million job openings each month during 2006 and throughout most of 2007.) 

The monthly employment report for April  2012, showed 12,500,000 people officially unemployed.  Divide that by the number of job openings on the latest JOLTS report (for April 2012), which is 3,416,000.  Voila.. we have a jobseekers-to-jobs ratio of 3.66.       

Why is it good that people quit?  

The number of people quitting has climbed over the past half year and now equals the rate of late 2008.  That  either means that people already have a new job lined up 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:  3,416,000 (vs. 3,741,000 in March 2012)
  • Hires:  4,175,000 (vs. 4,335,000 in March 2012)
  • Total Separations (includes Layoffs, Discharges, Quits and "other"):  4,086,000 (vs. 4, 187,000 in March 2012)
  • Layoffs:  1,720,000 (vs. 1,652,000 in March 2012)
  • Quits:  1,955,000 and 50.7% of "separations" (vs. 1,926,000 and 51.8% of separations in November)  Remember that quits are VOLUNTARY separations.  The higher the percentage of quits to total separations, the better for the jobseeker as a whole.  This number was at a recent high in the 58% area in early 2007, and it was at a low of about 37% in early 2009, as people hung on to their jobs and either did not quit or could not find better jobs.
Best Regions for Job Openings and Hiring:
  • The Northeast and the South for job openings.
  • The South and the West for hiring.
  • The South and the Midwest have the most "separations".
  • The South has the most "quits".
  • The South and the West have the most layoffs.

Best Industries for Job Openings and Hiring:
  • Job openings:  Mining and logging and construction job openings are  lower than last year.  Manufacturing, nondurable goods, openings are higher than last year.  Business and professional services, health care and social assistance (private), and leisure and hospitality have much higher rates of job openings than last year.   
  • Hires:  Mining and logging, construction, private educational services have lower hiring rates than last year.  "Transportation, warehousing, and utilities", financial activities, especially "real estate, rental, and leasing", and "arts, entertainment, and recreation" have experienced decent increases in hiring activity over the past year.  
Most separations?
  • Most separations over the past year:  Mining and logging,  financial activities, especially "real estate, rental, and leasing", and "arts, entertainment, and recreation" have experienced increases in separation  activity over the past year.   Less separations over the past year: Construction.
  • Fewest new layoffs:  Construction.  Most new layoffs:  "Arts, entertainment, and recreation". 

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