JOLTS Summary: More Government Workers Quitting Voluntarily, More Private Sector Workers Getting Fired

Tyler Durden's picture

There was nothing to smile about in today's May JOLTS release from the BLS. Those expecting a pick up in job openings (traditionally the key requirement for an sustained increase in NFP) will have to wait some more, after the May number came at 3.0 million, the same as April. This is modestly better than the all time low of 2.1 million in July 2009, but is a far cry from the 4.4 million when the Depression started. And while there was no good news in Job Openings, there was some bad news in Total Separations which increased by over 200K sequentially from 3.833 MM to 4.059 MM. And for the first time since late 2010, the separations rates (defined to include voluntary quits, involuntary layoffs and discharges) rose to 3.1%, the same as the hires rate. Should the separations rate (especially if driven by involuntary departures) surpass the hires rate it will likely portend another period of NFP weakness ahead. What is most surprising is that contrary to conventional wisdom, the voluntary quits level among government workers increased from 38% to 41% of total, while the layoffs and discharges level dropped from 44% to 38%, which means that government workers were not "let go" - they left voluntarily. This throws a bit of a wrench in generic interpretations of the surge in the government component of the unemployment rate. What is worse is that the quits rate in the Private employment stayed flat at 50%, while the layoff and discharges rate increased from 42% to 44%. Ironically, it is Private workers who are getting fired more, while it is government workers who are quitting voluntarily.

Monthly big picture summary:

Drilling down into the key Separations number:

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. In May, the quits rate was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm (1.5 percent), total private (1.7 percent), and government (0.6 percent). (See table 4.) Although the number of quits rose from 1.5 million in January 2010 (the most recent trough) to 2.0 million in May 2011, the number remained below the 2.8 million quits when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in May 2011 was higher than 12 months earlier for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Several industries experienced a rise in the number of quits over the year, and federal government experienced a decline. In the regions, the number of quits rose in the South but was little changed in the other three regions. (See table 8.)

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is seasonally adjusted only at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels. The layoffs and discharges rate was little changed in May for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.8 million in May, up slightly from the recent low point of 1.5 million in January 2011, but still well below the peak of 2.5 million in February 2009. (See table B below.)

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) was essentially unchanged over the 12 months ending in May for total nonfarm and total private. The level decreased over the year for federal government, returning to a more typical level after a large number of layoffs in May 2010 of temporary Census workers. The number of layoffs and discharges was steady in the regions. (See table 9.)

And looking at relative contributions:

The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. The percentage of total separations attributable to the individual components has varied over time at the total nonfarm level, but for the majority of the months since the series began in December 2000, the proportion of quits has exceeded the proportion of layoffs and discharges. Other separations is historically a very small portion of total separations; it has rarely been above 10 percent of total separations.

The proportions of quits and layoffs and discharges were last equal in November 2010. Since then, the proportion of quits has trended upward, again exceeding the proportion of layoffs and discharges, which has trended downward. In May, the proportion of quits for total nonfarm was 49 percent and the proportion of layoffs and discharges was 44 percent. The proportions were similar for total private with 50 percent quits and 44 percent layoffs and discharges. For government, the proportions were 41 percent quits and 38 percent layoffs and discharges. (See table C below.)

Full report

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Sandy15's picture

That was just funny.  Sadly true, but funny!!

Sandy15's picture

That was just funny.  Sadly true, but funny!!

PositivelyNegative's picture

Could it be that those "voluntary" seperations by Govt employees were ones that were offered packages to leave? And they took it because they knew it was either that or get fired  with nothing?

Miles Kendig's picture

A bit of insight into public sector "quits" is the % of those that are "temporary, not to exceed X time workers" who are automatically listed as quits when their position expires.  Then the standard practice is to reclaim them as hires when the temp position rolls over.  This practice is as wide spread iin the public sector as it is in the private and given seasonality we may be seeing the effects of downward pressure on local gov't especially in education.  We'll see if there is a marked improvement in this number in August and September reporting periods or if school districts follow the private sector and concentrate on cutting the "contract" service providers to meet the budget requirements.

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Public employees are being offered a choice; retire now or accept reduced retirement bennies. There are bullish undercurrents, so bear with me on this.

The "old guard" employees are leaving in droves. The replacements are entering with a vastly lower cost base, more energy and a better attitude. 

It's a real productivity gain not a death spiral. Just a couple of % points, but this trend should accelerate.

Of course there are dumbfuks that fail to get past the first soundbytes they heard on Faux news. That's cool. More opportunities for people that can think without the training wheels.

 

tarsubil's picture

LOL. Productivity gains. Wow, yeah, you don't have training wheels on. Keep telling yourself that one, brah. Never mind the fact that the old guard is still being paid while the new ones that replaced them get a one or two grade increase. And nevermind that neither group is producing anything. How do you get productivity gains on paper shuffling? Sometimes the level of ignorance about the government is just overwhelming. Do you honestly believe this "stuff" that you're shoveling?

Miles Kendig's picture

Look to the changes brought about by the change from CSRS to FERS in the federal sector before you try to jump off that trike.  Or take a look at what the process known as tenure means

Better luck next time, clueless

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Public employees are being offered a choice; retire now or accept reduced retirement bennies. There are bullish undercurrents, so bear with me on this.

The "old guard" employees are leaving in droves. The replacements are entering with a vastly lower cost base, more energy and a better attitude. 

It's a real productivity gain not a death spiral. Just a couple of % points, but this trend should accelerate.

Of course there are dumbfuks that fail to get past the first soundbytes they heard on Faux news. That's cool. More opportunities for people that can think without the training wheels.

 

InconvenientCounterParty's picture

Public employees are being offered a choice; retire now or accept reduced retirement bennies. There are bullish undercurrents, so bear with me on this.

The "old guard" employees are leaving in droves. The replacements are entering with a vastly lower cost base, more energy and a better attitude. 

It's a real productivity gain not a death spiral. Just a couple of % points, but this trend should accelerate.

Of course there are dumbfuks that fail to get past the first soundbytes they heard on Faux news. That's cool. More opportunities for people that can think without the training wheels.

 

LFMayor's picture

that's cool. More opportunities for people who can post without the training wheels.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"productivity gain" in government? There's no such thing. Go back to your HuffPuff fantasy world. The only way to make gov't efficient is to eliminate it. That's a FACT.

Miles Kendig's picture

Government by its very nature is inefficient.  Hire firemen when a fire breaks out?  If you want efficient law enforcement hire the nimrods working mall security.  The real acid test is in electing public officials that have the nuts to set limits AND give up their favorite cheese.

Might I suggest you travel to your nearest Marine Corps or Army combat instillation and scream at them that they're inefficient at dispatch

LOOOOOOL

Gandalf6900's picture

Can anyone tell me how the financial services job situation is in the US

Miles Kendig's picture

Down from about 8.5mm to 7.3mm since Sep '08 with more layoffs announced

MiningJunkie's picture

Things up here in the Great White North are peachy jobs-wise - nice to be oil-self-sufficient thanks to Alberta.

Cpl Hicks's picture

Well that is just great news!

How many provinces do you have up there?

We could make Barry O's vision of 57(ish) United States a reality.

MiningJunkie's picture

Things up here in the Great White North are peachy jobs-wise - nice to be oil-self-sufficient thanks to Alberta.

High Plains Drifter's picture

G Pap goes to his homeland for talks.

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7436849.html

that giant sucking sound coming from israhole is the greek leadership, sucking the cocks of the new politburo , aka, the Israhole government.

Urban Roman's picture

We are proud to inform you that your position is being converted to a volunteer position. You may take advantage of this wonderful job offer, or quit; your choice.

Gandalf6900's picture

 

pardon the triple posts

LetThemEatRand's picture

Just so long as they guy who hits the "buy" button to keep the market levitated even as the world crumbles around us doesn't quit (or suffer finger injury from hitting the button 1 trillion times per day), everything will be just fine.  

PulauHantu29's picture

People are still spending....not paying their mortgages and credit cards...living for free and spending that money on fun stuff......het, why not...

Everyone wants a free lunch! as long as foreclsoures are stalled....and unemployment benefits and food stamps are plentiful...hey, why go to work? It's a new world my friend.

Mercury's picture

What is most surprising is that contrary to conventional wisdom, the voluntary quits level among government workers increased from 38% to 41% of total, while the layoffs and discharges level dropped from 44% to 38%, which means that government workers were not "let go" - they left voluntarily.

How many in that 41% are rolling into another public sector job I wonder?

fallout11's picture

Probably not that many given the now nearly cross the board budget/funding cuts going on at many a muni/county/state level.

I saw this week that Dallas/Ft. Worth couldn't even afford to keep its public pools open, despite 110 degree heat.

Mercury's picture

If that's the case the real question becomes: who would be dumb enough to quit a government job in this environment?

Cutting services where it hurts most is the oldest trick in the book.  You'd likely be surprised at the types of jobs they passed over with the red pen before they decided to close the pools in Dallas...

HileTroy's picture

WOW!! I wish I could have got some of the good gubermentcheeze  but as a former small biz owner, playing the tax game like we all do, when my construction CO folded I did not get the luxury of all that good unemployment or any of the rest of that crap. Living in my truck with the clothes on my back, as i lost my house , my wife, kids relationship with my folks etc ect was pretty devastating. Five years of working 120 hours a week paid off for nothing.

But its all good I breath and they cant eat me......................... yet (soylent green any body) LOL

Hey after a year of looking for the most menial jobs I got a interview at a Medical Marry Jane dispensary ( WEED Bitchez a Growing industry) but what the hell 8 bones a hour to sell weed legal like that just rocks.

How sweet is that.

Remember NOTHING to worry about our "Professional Politicians ARE paid to KNOW more then us

 

RKDS's picture

Sorry to hear about your business folding but I hope you now have some idea of how people aren't getting rich on minimum wage no matter what the kleptocrats and their mouthpieces tell you on TV.

JailBank's picture

I am one of those govt workers. Went from private to govt and after less than one year I can't take it.

pizzgums's picture

they can't be fired.

 

the only way they leave is to quit.

 

this  is a surprise ?

j0nx's picture

Nobody sane quits a government job. WTF kind of bullshit stat is this? Retiring aint quitting...