Job Openings Plunge Most On Record Amid Mass Layoffs, Plunge In Hiring

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, May 15, 2020 - 10:30 AM

With the BLS's JOLTs, or job openings and labor turnover, survey coming in with an extra month delay, we already knew that the March data would be dismal (especially considering the total implosion in April when over 20 million people lost their jobs), and sure enough that's what happened when the BLS reported that in March the number of job openings plunged from an upward revised 7.004 million to just 6.191 million, the 813K monthly drop the largest on record going back to 2000.

The largest declines in job openings took place in accommodation and food services (-258,000) and durable goods manufacturing (-82,000).

As a result of the surge in unemployed people in March and the plunge in job openings, the series of 24 consecutive months in which there were more job openings than unemployed workers is now officially over, with 949K more unemployed workers than there are job openings, the biggest gap since May 2017.

Keep in mind this is from March; the April data will be far, far worse.

Also far worse will be the number of hires, which in March dropped by 658K, from 5.864 million to 5.206 million, something which one can argue was long overdue considering the persistent outperformance of this series relative to the rolling 12 month payroll change. Hires decreased in accommodation and food services (-344,000), health care and social assistance (-87,000), and durable goods manufacturing (-33,000). Hires increased in federal government (+8,000).

And while we wait for the true shocker of a JOLTs report next month, there was one series that hinted at just how ugly it will get, when the number of layoffs soared to 11.372 million, up by 9.5 million in one month, and the biggest monthly total on record. . The number of layoffs and discharges increased for total private to 11.2 million (+9,445,000) and for government to 175,000 (+80,000). The layoffs and discharges level increased significantly in all but one industry, with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+4,136,000) and retail trade (+908,000)

And, inversely, with everyone getting fired, virtually nobody had any interest in voluntarily quitting and such the number of quits tumbled by the most ever, from 3.436MM to 2.782MM, the lowest level since 2015. Total private quits fell to 2.6 million (-640,000), while government edged down to 177,000 (-14,000). Quits decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-145,000) and retail trade (-137,000).