JOLTS: Job Openings Drop To Lowest In Six Month As Hiring, Quitting Slows

After a burst of record high job openings which started in June but declined in October, today's November JOLTS report  - Janet Yellen's favorite labor market indicator - showed another modest drop in job openings across most categories as the year wound down, with the total number declining from a downward revised 5.925MM to 5.8793MM, well below the 6.038MM consensus estimate, and the lowest since May, resulting in an Nov. job opening rate decline from 3.9% to 3.8%.

After the recent breakout, which started with the near record 414K monthly spike in job openings in June after years of being rangebound between 5.5 and 6 million, the latest job opening prints suggests that increasingly more vacant jobs are getting filled, although it is unclear if that is due to higher wages or looser employer standards. In any case, the fact that job openings is dropping is likely another modest negative for future wage growth.




The number of job openings was little changed for total private and for government. Job openings increased in retail trade (+88,000) but decreased in other services (-64,000), transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-60,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (-39,000). 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 tests...

It wasn't just job openings that declined: total hires declined as well, dropping from a near record 5.592 million in October to 5.488 million in November. This is roughly the same as the May print of 5.472 million.



On an annual basis, the pace of hiring declined modestly from October's sharp 7.5% jump to 4.3% in November, in line with recent historical averages.



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 increase, and in November declined modestly from 3.187MM to 3.174MM, suggesting workers were feeling just a little less confident about demand for their job skills than the previous month. The number of quits was little changed for total private and increased for government (+25,000). Quits increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+25,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+15,000). Quits decreased in other services (-49,000), real estate and rental and leasing (-21,000), and mining and logging (-6,000).



And with a total 5.2 million separations (a 3.5% rate), this means that there were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in November, virtually unchanged from October. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1 percent in November, down from 1.2% in the prior month.  The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for total private, for government, and in all industries. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in the Midwest region.

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 5.9 million open jobs on the last business day of November 2017.
  • Hires have increased since a low in June 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In November 2017, there were 5.5 million hires.
  • Quits have increased since a low in September 2009 and have surpassed prerecession levels. In November 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 November 2017, there were 391,000 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 November 2017, the unemployment rate was 4.1% and the job openings rate was 3.8%.



Endgame Napoleon Delving Eye Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:22 Permalink

Thanks for the real jobs report. “Quits” often amount to bullying out. Ironically, a good way to get bullied out of a job is to meet the sales generation and account-retention numbers every month, thereby boosting up your manager’s bonus numbers. That makes you particularly churn-able, especially in absenteeism-gang jobs, where parent managers and their 98% mom-gang employees take turns taking off from work, colluding in taking afternoons, days and weeks off beyond PTO and pregnancy leaves. Crony-parent managers churn the high-selling employees like butter, orchestrating “quits” via bullying skills that are much more advanced than their closing skills. This is often done right before the cut off for UC, ensuring that the few employees who attended work every day and stayed all day, busting their cans to sell new accounts, do not even get UC between churn jobs to cover rent, even though they must pay into that system, unlike the absentee parent-gang workers, some of whom have monthly welfare that covers rent and food and refundable tax credits (“for kids”) up to $6,444, which are non-contributory. 

In reply to by Delving Eye

Endgame Napoleon Delving Eye Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:16 Permalink

Yes. And the vast majority of underemployed Americans are not on opioids. Status quo-upholding politicians always unleash a new Movie of the Week psychobabble topic, along with more chat about workers without enough training, to cover up the real issues that facilitate a part-time gig economy, where wages do not rise for 40 years. 

  1. the undercutting of citizens by mass-scale, non-merit-based immigration, aided by welfare and refundable child tax credits for legal / illegal immigrants, when they a) have US-born kids and b) fall under the earned-income limit for welfare in traceable income;
  2. the undercutting of job seekers with earned-only income by moms, willing to work part time for low pay due to spousal income or due to needing to stay below the earned-income limit for monthly welfare that covers their rent  and groceries and the phase out for refundable (child) tax credits / EITC up to $6,444 (for low earners with kids);
  3. automation;
  4. offshoring; 
  5. assortative mating, which cuts access to middle-class jobs in half by concentrating the jobs with benefits and decent wages in fewer households. 

In reply to by Delving Eye

Lostinfortwalton Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:54 Permalink

The 'shadowstats' unemployment rate, which includes the long term unemployed and the people working part-time jobs without benefits who would like full-time jobs with bennies, is 21.6%

Endgame Napoleon Lostinfortwalton Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:32 Permalink

They count every illegal alien as employed, in addition to counting part-time employees as employed, while not counting (or not emphasizing) how many working-aged citizens are sidelined from the workforce. Citizens are not in the workforce primarily because they need jobs that cover all household bills, including rent that consumes more than half of earned-only income, not jobs that just supplement welfare & refundable (child) tax credits, retirement income, spousal income or income from child support that covers their housing expense. Many jobs cater to the part-time crowd with unearned income—the job seekers that, in one employer’s words,

have somethin’ comin’ in.

That includes illegal aliens, whose refundable tax credits up to $6,444 — the equivalent of 4 months full-time wages in many jobs — were just increased by the Swamp Congress. 

In reply to by Lostinfortwalton

MuffDiver69 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:01 Permalink

Every single person on payroll gets a small raise come February for first time in long time. I have a feeling employers will/are spreading some increased earning from business tax cuts, but who’s kidding who on the structural issues that start with the worst education system ever devised..

Endgame Napoleon MuffDiver69 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:42 Permalink

Citizens who must cover all of their household bills with earned income—rather than with a combination of earned income from part-time work and unearned income from spouses or welfare and huge, refundable tax credits—just get $24 in tax savings per paycheck. It will not even cover the difference in unaffordable rent since I last rented an apartment, which absorbed more than half of my monthly pay as a childless, single citizen with no pay-per-birth freebies from taxpayers and the US Treasury Department.

Now, the momma in the next cubicle who takes mornings, afternoons, days and weeks off for kids without meeting the quotas gets a big boost in her paycheck for not working hard. She does not get that upgrade in her paycheck for working hard or for meeting quotas, but to reward her for sex, reproduction and part-time work, whether that is official part-time work or collusion in a mom-gang job, where parents hire / retain mostly fellow parents in jobs “voted best for moms,” backwatching as they take a ton of time off and getting rid of the hardworking quota meeters after they have squeezed a lot of sales out of them, moving on to the next chump.  

In reply to by MuffDiver69

Lostinfortwalton Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:06 Permalink

Since virtually every company is addicted to screwing their customers, employees, and vendors for the very last dime I don't see how the few reputable companies left can make a difference.

Endgame Napoleon Lostinfortwalton Tue, 01/09/2018 - 16:00 Permalink

Many small businesses bend over backwards for their customers, but only a few customers value it enough to shop with them, rather than with the big boys.

Almost all employers, or most of the managers they hire, prefer slacker employees who do not 

  1. energetically generate new accounts,
  2. service accounts with energy,
  3. attend work every day or 
  4. stay at work until the last customer leaves. 

Employers and managers hire / retain mostly employees with major household bills covered by 

  1. spousal income, 
  2. child support, 
  3. monthly welfare, 
  4. refundable (child) tax credits or
  5. SS retirement income. 

Employees with unearned income are much more important to employers than hardworking or productive employees, including managers who are often frequently absentee just like their mom-gang employees, making me wonder if automation makes it possible to value labor-expense savings much more than hardworking, productive employees who are at work every day and working, rather than posting baby pics on FB or planning the next baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contest or Halloween dress-up day.

When computers do more of the work, it is possible to indulge the 98% childbearing-age and crony-parent employees (and managers) in an enormous volume of excused absenteeism, particularly when most of them can afford to accept low pay due to their unearned income from spouses or government.   


In reply to by Lostinfortwalton

wisebastard Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:08 Permalink

and yet the eur/usd did not even trend. i have a theory that its max keiser and his buddies at goldman sachs rigging the markets to trend side ways to spite a certain trader that wont have sex with gay men in powerful positions

everything1 Tue, 01/09/2018 - 12:15 Permalink

It's winter time, and it's EOY, as well as seasonal shopping hiring is done.  We are approaching the great middle of this economic run.  Bull market is still in full swing, production is ramped! With a slight taper to come.  Car sales only moderated last year for the first time, as in yes they dropped for the first time since the last recession albeit small, they expect the same this year although SUV/Truck sales still climbing as we race to build and borrow as much as possible before the music stops - as it always does with the threat of rates being risen. 

We all know where rates are really going long term.


SO .. hiring may have stalled, but we still at full tilt.