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BLS: Job Openings "little changed" at 10.9 million in December

by Calculated Risk on 2/01/2022 10:04:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 10.9 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and total separations decreased to 6.3 million and 5.9 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.9 percent. The layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 0.8 percent, a series low.
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for December, the employment report on Friday will be for January.

Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are usually pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover. When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

The huge spike in layoffs and discharges in March 2020 are labeled, but off the chart to better show the usual data.

Jobs openings increased in December to 10.9 million from 10.8 million in November.

The number of job openings (yellow) were up 62% year-over-year.

Quits were up 27% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (See light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

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