Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Economic Jolt: Job Openings and Labor Turnover March 2010

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest monthly read of job availability and labor turnover (JOLT) showing that, on a year-over-year basis, private non-farm job “openings” increased 2.65%, job “hires” increased 5.91%, job “layoffs and discharges” decreased 27.93% and job quits declined 4.74%.

Job “openings” (click chart below for larger version), the reports most leading “demand side” indicator, appears to be in the process of defining a bottom of sorts vacillating monthly between gain and loss but not dropping near the low levels seen during early 2009.

Sliding down that slope of the Beveridge curve, the decline in the job vacancy rate clearly corresponded with an equal but inverse movement up in the general unemployment rate as can be plainly seen in the following chart (click chart for larger version).

Job “hiring” activity (click chart for larger version) has also appears to be defining a bottom albeit at a historically low level.

Job separations are continuing to decline as both quitting activity continues to remain at a very low level and layoffs by employers continue to slow.

It’s important to understand that job “quits” are included as a component of the “separations” data series as “quitting” is a valid means of workers “separating” from employers but their inclusion tends to create an overall procyclical trend in what would otherwise be logically thought of as a countercyclical process (i.e. downturn leads to increase in separations not decrease).