JOLTS stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The December report shows there were 4.73 official unemployed people hunting for a job to every position available. If one takes the official broader definition of unemployment, or U6, the ratio becomes even worse, 8.40. There were only 3,063,000 job openings for December 2010.
The job openings rate was essentially unchanged over the month at 2.3 percent. Both the hires rate and the separations rate were unchanged at 3.2 percent each in December.
Bear in mind this is only the official 14,485,000 December unemployed, it's not counting the disappeared unemployed as well as the forced part-time, temporary, which U-6, seasonally adjusted is currently 25.7 million for December 2010. The ratios might be skewed somewhat due to the yearly adjustments in the BLS CPS. The updated numbers in the January unemployment report were used to calculate the number of people needing a job to the available jobs for December 2010.
Additionally, this ratio is worse than October, where the ratio of official unemployed to jobs openings was 4.5, although bear in mind these are ratios and based on the CPS survey, which has it's own margin of error.
We can see some of this in the actual hires from December 2010, totaling 4,184,000. This is incredibly low and flat.
Below are total job separations, 4,162,000, with the term separation meaning you're out of a job through a layoff, quitting or retirement. Notice how separations is almost equal to the number of hires, 4,184,000. Seems the revolving door has come to working America, although not quite the same as the one in Washington D.C.
The number of quits or voluntary job separations is becoming dangerously close to the number of fires. Want a choice of employers? Doesn't seem to be much of an option today.
In December 2010, the proportion of quits for total nonfarm was 48 percent and the proportion of layoffs and discharges was 44 percent. For total
private, the proportions were 49 percent quits and 44 percent layoffs and discharges. For government, the proportions were 33 percent quits and 51 percent layoffs and discharges.
Below are quits minus discharges and layoffs. What this graph shows is how people do not have a choice in jobs, the number of people being forced out of their job is more equaling the number who plain quit, which implies little choice and those who have a job are hanging on for dear life. This is with layoffs and firings now at pre-recession levels.
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 BLS was kind enough to make a credible Beveridge Curve graph, reprinted below. The Beveridge curve shows the official unemployment rate vs. the job openings rate. If you see a bunch of data points to the far right, that's bad, it means there is long term unemployment and not enough jobs. Look at how we're stuck to the right, the green shows how fast we went to the right and stuck there, meaning there are no jobs. This graph shows working America is in big trouble.
For the JOLTS report, the BLS creates some fairly useful graphs, some of which were reprinted here, and they have oodles of additional information in their databases, broken down by occupational area. Below is a reprint of their bubble graph, and the first thing to note is how health and educational employment dwarfs manufacturing. For economies of scale, we really need to see that manufacturing bubble grow and grow, it's about 11% of the total economy which is not good for a host of reasons.
To put these ratios into perspective, there were 4.8 million job openings in March 2007 and believe this or not, the low point of job openings was in July 2009, where the number has increased 31%, or 700,000 to 3.1 million for December 2010, obviously not enough jobs.
Here is our November's JOLTS report overview.