The BLS January JOLTS report, or Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows there are 3.3 official unemployed per job opening. Actual hires increased 1.2% to 4.247 million after last month's plunge. Real hiring has only increased 17% from June 2009. Job openings also recovered slightly, up by 2.2% to 3.693 million, yet are still below pre-recession levels of 4.7 million. Job openings have increased 69.5% from July 2009. Some in the press are claiming hiring is on a rebound. Frankly hiring is not. Every month it is the same thing, not enough hiring and this has been going on now for over five years.
There were 1.8 official unemployed persons per job opening at the start of the recession, December 2007. Below is the graph of the official unemployed per job opening. Notice how flat tail the below graph is. That's not an amazing recovery. The official unemployed ranked 12.33 million in January 2013.
If one takes the official broader definition of unemployment, or U-6, the ratio becomes 6.2* unemployed people per each job opening. The January U-6 unemployment rate was 14.3%. Below is the graph of number of unemployed, using the broader U-6 unemployment definition, per job opening.
We have no idea the quality of these job openings as a whole, as reported by JOLTS, or the ratio of part-time openings to full-time. The rates below mean the number of openings, hires, fires percentage of the total employment. Openings are added to the total employment for it's ratio. Openings increased 0.1 percentage points and layoffs declined by 0.1 percentage points from last month.
- openings rate: 2.7%
- hires rate: 3.1%
separations rate: 3.0%
- fires & layoffs rate: 1.1%
- quits rate: 1.6%
- other rate: 0.3%
Graphed below are raw job openings. Job openings are still below the 4.7 to 4.3 million levels of 2007.
Since the July 2009 trough, actual hires per month have only increased 17%. This is simply terrible and the most important indicator for employers are clearly refusing to increase hiring, across the board and thus not recover from our jobs crisis.
Below are total job separations, currently at 4.02 million and an increase of 1.0% from last month. The term separation means you're out of a job through a firing, layoff, quitting or retirement.
Layoffs and firings were 1.507 million, a -4.0% decline from last month. Below is a graph of just layoffs and firings. This is the good news of the report, layoffs and firings are clearly way down, even below pre-recession levels. One can see from labor flows while businesses are not slashing and burning their workforce, they also are not really adding to their payrolls.
Graphed below are openings separations and hires levels, so we can compare the types of labor flows. While layoffs have declined to pre-recession levels, it is the flat line hires (blue) that is the problem, beyond not enough job openings (red) for the unemployed. There is simply not enough hiring going on to get people back to work. Anyone who claims a labor shortage is also easily disproved by these figures. A labor shortage would imply more job openings than unemployed available to fill them.
We have an 2.0 million overall yearly net job gain and this is a 200,000 increase from what was reported last month. Annual revisions from the employment statistics are incorporated into this report.. This may sound like better news until one realizes there are 12.33 million unemployed. Needless to say 2 million annual job growth isn't making much of a dent in dropping the unemployed levels.
Over the 12 months ending in January 2013, hires totaled 52.0 million and separations totaled 50.0 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.0 million.
Graphed below are people who quit their jobs minus those who were fired and laid off. The lower the bar on the below graph, the worse labor conditions are. The number of quits were 2.218 million for January and a 4.3% increase from last month. July 2009 saw1.8 million quits. People quit their current jobs often to obtain better ones. People feeling free enough to leave their current position also hasn't changed much for the year. Additionally quit statistics are still way below pre-recession levels of 2.8 million. People are clearly not voluntarily leaving their jobs because the job market is so bad, even though the jobs slaughter of 2009 where people were laid off and fired in mass is over. This month's increase if a pattern would be a sign the labor market is improving and people can shed that bad boss and exploitative employer for greener employment pastures.
For the JOLTS report, the BLS creates some fairly useful graphs beyond the above and they have oodles of additional information in their databases, broken down by occupational area. That said, one doesn't know if the openings are quality jobs from the JOLTS statistics. The St. Louis Federal Reserve also had loads of graphing tools for JOLTS.
The JOLTS takes a random sampling of 16,000 businesses and derives their numbers from that. The survey also uses the CES, or current employment statistics, not the household survey as their base benchmark, although ratios are coming from the household survey, which gives the tally of unemployed.
The January 2013 unemployment rate was 7.9%. JOLTS includes part-time jobs and does not make a distinction between part-time, full-time openings. A job opening reported to the survey could literally be take out the trash twice a week and be counted. This is a shame, it would be nice to know a little more about the quality of these new opportunities. Here are our past JOLTS overviews, unrevised.
* is defined as the official unemployed plus people who are in part-time jobs for economic reasons plus the marginally attached. The marginally attached,, are officially not part of the civilian labor force, , and also not seasonally adjusted. The above graph was created by the seasonally adjusted levels of the unemployed, part-time for economic reasons and the marginally attached, raw totals. Another way to calculate this figure is: