JOLTS: Hiring Slides To Lowest In 6 Months As Job Openings Remain Near All Time High

After a burst of record high job openings which started in June and eased modestly in August, today's September JOLTS report  - Janet Yellen's favorite labor market indicator - showed another modest increase in job openings across most categories in the hurricane-affected month, with the total number rising fractionally 6.090MM to 6.093MM, above the 6.091MM estimate, resulting in an unchanged Sept. job opening rate of 4%. Still, after nearly two years of being rangebound between 5.5 and 6 million, the latest job openings number confirms that there may be a "breakout" about what was the previous resistance level, as increasingly more jobs remain unfilled in a labor market where skill shortages and labor imbalances are becoming structural.

The number of job openings was little changed for total private and for government. Job openings increased in professional and business services (+156,000), other services (+52,000), state and local government education (+36,000), and federal government (+15,000). Job openings decreased in accommodation and food services (-111,000) and information (-28,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions. Now if only employers could find potential employees that can pass their drug test...

Comment on the impact from the hurricanes, the BLS said that "Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida during September, the reference month for the preliminary estimates in this release. All possible efforts were made to contact and collect data from survey respondents in the hurricane-affected areas. A review of the data indicated that Hurricane Irma had no discernible effect on the JOLTS estimates for September."

One notable change in this report was the sharp slump in hiring, which declined by 147K to 5.273MM in September, the lowest month since April, and further reducing the hiring rate from 3.7% to 3.6% percent.

On an annual basis, the pace of hiring slowed down once again, declining to 1.8% in Sept. from 2.5% Y/Y in August, down from 3.6% in July.

The other closely watched category, the level of quits - which indicates workers' confidence they can leverage their existing skills and find a better paying job - reversed last month's declined, and in Sept. rose from 3.093 MM to 3.182MM, suggesting workers were feeling just a little more confident about demand for their job skills than the previous month. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits rose in  professional and business services (+82,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+10,000). Quits fell in other services (-45,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (-16,000).

And with a total 5.2 million separations (a 3.6% rate), this means that there were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in September, unchanged from August. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.2 percent in Sept.  The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000) and mining and logging (-7,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions.

Putting all the data in context:

  • Job openings have increased since a low in July 2009. They returned to the prerecession level in March 2014 and surpassed the prerecession peak in August 2014. There were 6.1 million open jobs on the last business day of September 2017.
  • Hires have increased since a low in June 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In September 2017, there were 5.3 million hires.
  • Quits have increased since a low in September 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In September 2017, there were 3.2 million quits.
  • For most of JOLTS history, the number of hires (measured throughout the month) has exceeded the number of job openings (measured only on the last business day of the month). Since January 2015, however, this relationship has reversed with job openings outnumbering hires in most months.
  • At the end of the most recent recession in June 2009, there were 1.2 million more hires throughout the month than there were job openings on the last business day of the month. In September 2017, there were 820,000 fewer hires than job openings

Finally, and perhaps most notably, the Beveridge Curve (job openings rate vs unemployment rate), appears to be gradually normalizing after a nearly decade-long "drift" from its conventional pattern. From the start of the most recent recession in December 2007 through the end of 2009, the series trended lower and further to the right as the job openings rate declined and the unemployment rate rose. In Sept 2017, the unemployment rate was 4.2% and the job openings rate was 4.0%.


MuffDiver69 Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:38 Permalink

Wow...Summer comes to an end a kids go back to college..Two massive Hurricanes hit two of the most productive states and this garbage being written...Put the pipe down...

Disgruntled Goat TheABaum Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:06 Permalink

Millennials .... I find that they like to talk concepts and philosophies a lot, but when it comes down to actually doing the work, humping it out, overcoming obsticles, they suck. Too much complaining, too much unwillingness to learn from senior staff .... work is supposed to be some sort of fun place they hang out with friends and post to social media .... amazing how many jaded 23 year olds I have encountered .... they have already been there and done that .... fuck "em... just one of the reasons I'm not an employer anymore ...

In reply to by TheABaum

Endgame Napoleon TheABaum Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:27 Permalink

Or, maybe, it is frequently absentee gangs of bully moms (and a few dads), taking a ton of excused time off from work (mornings, afternoons, days, weeks, months) and getting away with it due to momma managers doing the same. Here are the people who tend to get bullied out the door in such establishments: the people who attend work every day, stay through the entire day and meet the sales quotas every month.


Because, it reflects badly on their back-watching absenteeism club. They are just not culture fits. They did not squeal with enough glee in the baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contest. They did not—shock—dress up for the workplace Halloween party. They did not post enough baby pics on FB when actually at work, as opposed to leaving work at 2:30 every day at the time of day when paying customers light up the phones.

This type of office is often not college-degree-friendly, although you need to use just the right congratulatory tone when the mommas tell you how smart their kids are and how they are going to college. Good luck to their kids—snowflakes or not—when they alight with their degrees, working with these gangs of non-degree-holding bully mommas, not that all of the degree holders avoid the momma gangland behavior.

No, no, no.

Such workplaces are frequently not license-holder-friendly, even when you were told that the licenses were legally required when jumping through the recurring testing and costly, biannual process of getting/retaining them, adding useless pieces of paper to a non-utilitarian bachelor’s degree.

These workplaces are family-friendly, both due to the crony-corrupt absenteeism cliques and due to the fact that employers can pay employees less when spousal income, child support or a combo of monthly welfare & child tax credits for reproducing while single covers their major household bills.

If “quits” mean people quitting jobs, it is often due to viscous bullying or attrition, resulting in no Unemployment Compensation to cover rent between churn jobs. The mom-gang hiring/retention discrimination rings may offer some explanation.

In reply to by TheABaum

Disgruntled Goat Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:56 Permalink

More numeric propaganda designed to support the unrestricted immigration narrative. The only real employment figure to consider is the Labor Participation Rate, now at 1970s levels.

Endgame Napoleon Disgruntled Goat Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:47 Permalink

Immigrants get their low-wage-enabling freebies through American-born children’s SS cards and the paycheck stubs of the dad, whereas the single moms (mostly citizens) submit their own paycheck stubs, proving 20 hours per week of part-time, welfare-reform-stipulated work, not to exceed the income limit for the programs. The limit is below $1000 per month in the case of EBT free groceries and is set a little lower (about $50) for the monthly cash assistance.

How do I know? I worked at the Department of Human Services and saw the amounts on the screens every day.

Then they get their real cash assistance check of between $3,337 (1 kid) to $6,269 (3 or more kids) at tax time in the form of a child tax credit for people who make too little to pay income taxes. It is lump-sum tax welfare that many parents report spending on beach trips with boyfriends. There is a big ole gap between showing [any] childcare expense, which, in reality, is frequently paid to their moms who often give it back to them, and a $6,269 check that is freed up for mom indulgences when food and rent are covered by taxpayers. The immigrants get their child-tax-credit lotto check by submitting a TIN number.

Some states do not provide free housing to illegal immigrants. Mine doesn’t. But CA, with its sea of homeless citizens, does.

People who lack access to these womb-productivity freebies cannot afford rent on part-time, low-wage or churn jobs. Rent absorbs more than half of monthly wages even in a full-time job. When so many parents have either spousal income or government-induced, financial incentives to work part time for low pay, most of the job offerings are part time and low wage.

In reply to by Disgruntled Goat

Consuelo Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:29 Permalink

  In other words (according to the last paragraph)... a. Quantitative $Easing has proven a viable economic policy...?b. Quantitatvie $Easing has levitated what would otherwise drop like a stone?c. Quantitative $Easing continues to this day in various unofficial permutations, thereby providing a life jacket on a lead weight?d. All of the above.   

LawsofPhysics Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:29 Permalink

So, more evidence that everything is why do the fuckers in the banking and finance sector still require access to essentially FREE money?Your move Mr. Yellen."Full Faith and Credit"

CRM114 Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:21 Permalink

There are no skills shortages and labor imbalances.There are f#ckwits in HR who have no idea who and what skills are needed to do a job.There are many companies that won't pay for quality, or respect good workers.There are ever more bosses who no one will work for. The last time someone told me they were quitting because of all three of the above was 12 hours ago.

To Infinity An… Tue, 11/07/2017 - 12:40 Permalink

WTF, yesterday the headlines scream we are at the best point in unemployment ever and today we hear hiring is at the lowest point in blah, blah, lbah.Something makes me think this is all bullshit pulled out of somebody's ass every day...

hound dog vigilante Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:27 Permalink

 Most of the job openings/listings are BULLSHIT. If these companies want just one H1 Visa hire, then they post 5 job openings & let the recruiters pull all the $25/hr. H1 immigrants in for telephone interviews... most of these are bogus, but so are 4/5 of the job postings... hiring games trigger job-seeking games... the most aggressive H1 candidate will get the job. Chances of a US citizen getting the (tech/IT) job are nil. 

JMT hound dog vigilante Tue, 11/07/2017 - 15:34 Permalink

PULEEZE, prove that 'most of the job openings/lstings are BULLSHIT'?   According to this series there has NEVER been as wide of a gap between JOB OPENINGS and HIRES.  All the other numbers (New claims, booming retail sales & consumer spending, record high car sales, and especially Real Estate).  When a listing hits the open market now, time on market is measured in HOURS not weeks, months or whatever but HOURS and never in history have most homes sold for well over asking price with multiple bids.  I am saying all this because all the data and what I actually see in the NYC metropolitan tri state area, CT, and Massachusetts corrobarates that never in history has the employment market and economy been as good as its been today.  

In reply to by hound dog vigilante

hound dog vigilante JMT Tue, 11/07/2017 - 18:33 Permalink

 generational lows in Labor Participation Rate vs. all-time highs in Job Openings... guess which one is bullshit. booming retail?  False. Record retail shrinkage 2016-->2017.booming RE?  False.  Historic distortions in RE... incredibly unstable.consumer spending?  Still hasn't recovered from recession 7 years ago... you are talking out your ass. NYC/CT/MASS = USA ??    LOL.  Spoken like a Hillary voter who didn't see it coming...

In reply to by JMT