One month after the October JOLTs report showed the first monthly drop in job openings since the March covid crash, moments ago the BLS reported that in September job openings in the US increased again, rising by 6.436MM, up from the 6.352MM downward revised October print (originally 6.493MM), if missing the 6.5MM consensus estimate.
According to the BLS, job openings decreased mostly in federal government (-20,000), and was little changed in all four regions.
Separately, we already knew that the series of 24 consecutive months in which there were more job openings than unemployed workers ended with a thud in March, in April it was an absolute doozy with 18 million more unemployed workers than there are job openings, the biggest gap on record. Since then the the gap has closed somewhat, and in September, there were 6.1 million more unemployed than available job openings (after 7.2 million in August).
As a result, there were just under 2 unemployed workers for every job opening, down from 4.6 at the peak crisis moment in April.
Meanwhile, after a flattish month for hiring in August (which followed the sudden and unexplained plunge in hiring in July, when the total number of job hires dropped by a 1.1 million to just 5.9 million) in September hiring once again slowed down, rising by 5.871MM in September, a decline of 81K from the 5.952MM in August, which is well below the record hiring pace set in May with 7.2MM.
Hires decreased in federal government (-256,000), largely due to a drop in demand for temporary 2020 Census workers. Hires also decreased in retail trade (-105,000) and educational services (-23,000). The number of hires increased in accommodation and food services (+137,000), wholesale trade (+73,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+46,000).
With hiring more or less flat in September, the number of total separations was also little changed at 4.7 million. The total separations level increased in other services (+77,000). Total separations also increased in federal government (+31,000), largely the result of temporary 2020 Census workers.
Of these, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased to 1.3 million (-200,000) and 0.9 percent, respectively in September. The layoffs and discharges level decreased in construction (-102,000) and wholesale trade (-40,000). The number of layoffs and discharges increased in federal government (+37,000), largely due to the release of temporary 2020 Census workers. Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions.
Finally, after the record surge in the number of American quitting their jobs reported back in June, the number of quits moderated and declined in August for the first time since April but has now rebounded again, and in September, an additional 179K people quit their job, bringing the total to 3.018MM. Quits increased in other services (+65,000), construction (+39,000), and arts,
entertainment, and recreation (+17,000).