Job Openings and Labor Turnover Make for Healthy Jobs Market

Jon C. Ogg

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. This is the so-called JOLTS report and it comes with a one-month lag.

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.2 million on the last business day of June. The number of hires was 5.2 million and the number of separations was 4.9 million. Within separations, the quits rate remained at 1.9% for the third month in a row.

Job openings of 5.2 million remained at 3.6% for the third month in a row. This was static in the private and government alike, although they decreased in nondurable goods manufacturing.

The number of hires was 5.2 million in June, and the hires rate was 3.7%. There was little change in the number of hires in all industries and regions.

Total separations, or turnover, includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. There were 4.9 million total separations in June, and the separations rate was 3.5%. There were 2.7 million quits in June, also shown to be little changed from May — and that remained 1.9% just like the prior month.

It is this quits rate that really drives job growth. For people to voluntarily leave their job it means they have a better opportunity elsewhere. The reason for leaving of course fluctuates wildly, but all in all a good job market is one in which workers also are not scared to leave what they have now.

There were 1.8 million layoffs and discharges in June, about the same as in May. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.3% in June.

Investors pay little attention the JOLTS report, as there is that one-month lag. Still, this gives a very clear and concise insider’s eye view of the real workings inside the jobs market.

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