JOLTS is a new survey, around for a decade, and it tracks on Job Openings and Labor Turnover. The MSM is all abuzz with the news that job openings increased 7.6% to 2.7 million in January 2010, an 11 month high. So let's dig a little deeper, beyond the feel good buzz. Here is the full report.
There were 2.7 million job openings on the last business day of January 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate rose over the month to 2.1 percent, the highest the rate has been since February 2009. The hires rate (3.1 percent) and the separations rate (3.2 percent) were unchanged in January.
The first thing noticed is the Associated Press report is misleading. The increase is to 2.1%, not 7.6%. The 7.6% is just the increase in the number of openings from last month, not an absolute number.
There are 14.8 million people looking for a job, which gives a ratio to the jobs available of 5 and a half people per job. Ok, you've put in your resume, you must assume at least 4 other people did too. So, the game of musical job chairs is still horrific, dropping from 6.25 people per job last November.
Here are openings and you see the small uptick, but nowhere near before the cliff dive during 2007:
Here actual hires are flat as a pancake for January 2010 (remember, it's now March 2010).
The hires rate was unchanged in January, remaining at 3.1 percent. The rate has remained between 3.0 percent and 3.2 percent since November 2008.
Now here is the graph du jour. Look at the new hire rate and notice that is has been in decline since early 2005.
Here are Separations, which includes fires, "I quit" and retirements. It was unchanged as 3.2%. Notice this too is flat as a pancake and no surprise there, when jobs are this tight, few are going to walk off and assuredly retirement was put off, if possible. Quits only also was flat as a pancake.
What does all of this tell us? The MSM has gotten just a little too much JOLT Cola Joy Juice mixed in with their reporting. Also interesting is why job openings increased yet the actual hires did not. This is an exercise for the reader, but I must wonder how many of those reported are pre-ordained cheap labor imports via guest worker Visas. Honestly I do not know, and if someone else has an answer, please write a comment but it seems like a gap that job openings would increase and actual hires would be flat.
Calculcated Risk has a fairly informative analysis of JOLTS.