Job Opening Slide To Three Year Low As Number Of Quits Plunge To Pre-Covid Levels
After several months of sharp moves in both directions, the most recent of which was the unexpected 617K plunge in the number of US job openings to 8.733 million, the lowest since March 2021, moments ago the BLS reported the latest, November JOLTS data (as a reminder, this BLS data set lags the jobs report by a month), was a rather tame change with the number of job openings dropping by a modest 62K, the smallest monthly change since Dec 2020, to 8.790 million down from an upward revised 8.852 million (previously 8.733 million). This means that after the revision, the November number was still the lowest since April 2021, even though it was lower than the original October print (which was revised higher).
According to the BLS, in November job openings decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-128,000) and in federal government (-58,000). Job openings increased in wholesale trade (+63,000). Also, worth noting that a lot of the major job opening drops that were originally reported last month for October in fields like social assistance (-236,000), finance and insurance (-168,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (-49,000), have been revised higher.
The continued modest drop in the number of job openings meant that in November, the number of job openings was 2.499 million more than the number of unemployed workers, up modestly from last month’s 2.346 million which was the lowest since July 2021. This is due to the large drop in unemployed workers in November (6.291 million) from October (6.506 million).
Said otherwise, in November the number of job openings to unemployed dropped to just 1.34, the lowest level since August 2021 and almost back to pre-covid levels of 1.3… and a far cry from the record 2.0 hit in early 2022.
But what was more interesting than the number of job openings in November, was the number of quits: and as the number of job openings slumped to the lowest in more than two years, the number of people quitting their jobs – an indicator traditionally closely associated with labor market strength as it shows workers are confident they can find a better wage elsewhere – tumbled by 157K 3.471MM, which is at the 3.4 million level reported in Feb 2020, just before the covid shutdown. According to the report, the number of quits decreased in professional and business services (-77,000) and in educational services (-23,000). In other words, in at least one part of the labor market normality has been restored.
Wed, 01/03/2024 – 10:31