JOLTs Report Shows Employees Still Confident in Job Market

September 10, 2019
Author: Jay Denton

Job Openings

The number of open jobs fell 0.4 percent in July 2019 while hires increased slightly. In the same month, employers advertised 7.2 million job openings. With roughly 6 million unemployed persons, the ratio of unemployed persons per job opening hovers at 0.8. This means there are 1.2 job openings for every unemployed person. For comparison, during the Great Recession, there were roughly 6 unemployed people for every job opening.

This ratio suggests that businesses remain eager for talent although, the inability to match these workers with jobs indicates a potential skillset gap.

The job openings level decreased in Wholesale Trade (-55,000) as a part of Trade, Transportation and Utilities and Federal Government (-11,000). The job openings level increased in Information and Construction (+42,000) and in Mining and Logging (+11,000).

The reduction in openings could be a sign that employers are growing more cautious among trade tension and global slowdown. But in lieu of resorting to economic recession noise, it is still more advisable to conduct your hiring plans based on company revenue performance.

Net Monthly Job Openings by Industry

Labor Turnover

In July 2019, there were 6.0 million hires and 5.8 million total separations.
Separations are measured as quits (voluntary) + layoffs (involuntary) + discharges (involuntary). In July 2019, there were 3.6 million quits and 1.8 million layoffs and discharges. The total separations level increased in Professional and Business Services (+98,000), Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (+42,000), and Information (+21,000).

Total Separation Rate: 3.8 percent
Quits Rate: 2.4 percent
Layoffs and Discharge Rate: 1.2 percent

Since quits are voluntary separations initiated by employees, an increasing number indicates workers' willingness to leave jobs. Coupled with wage increases, the quits rate may also show an employee’s financial ability to leave without immediately securing other employment.

The quits rate also shows workers’ confidence in their ability to rebound and find other employment. In July, quits edged up slightly, with 127,000 quits in Private Employment and 3,000 quits in Government. For industries, quits increased in Health Care and Social Assistance (+54,000) and in Federal Government (+3,000).