Reclaiming Common Sense

March Record Level of Job Openings

Separations and Hires Down from March 2018, Quits Up

The stock market sell-off took all of the air out of the room when the March Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data was released. The headline job openings data spiked higher than it has during the month of March. The thing to o remember is that the JOLTS data compares fairly well with the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Worker data and not so well with the Current Population Survey (CPS) Jobs and Unemployment data. What happened thismonth?

We set a record for March Job Openings at 7.343 million openings. The top four categories were Professional Business Services, PBS, Leisure and Hospitality (LAH,) Trade, transportation and Utilities (TTU,) and Education and Health Services (EHS.) This is an increase from February's 6.791 million and in increase from March 2018 when we had 6.812 Million Job Openings. Job Openings were revised higher for TTU by 54,000 openings, and revised lower for EHS by 46,000.

We saw an increase in Hires from February to March. We also had our second best ever March for Hires, second only to last March. The top four sectors for hires were PBS, LAH, TTU, and EHS. We saw hires jump from the February level of 4.718 million to 5.278 million. This is only slightly lower than March 2018 when we set a March record of 5.300 million.

We saw an increase in Separations from last month, decrease from March 2018. WE saw 4.789 million Separations this month, 4.499 million last month, and 4.801 million last March. The top four sectors for Separations were PBS, LAH, TTU, EHS.

We saw an increase in Quits from month to month and March to March. The Quits last month were 2.833 million, the quits March 2018 were 3.003 million, the Quits this month were 3.097 million. The top four sectors were TTU, LAH, PBS, and EHS. February Quits were revised 9000 lower for TTU and 18,000 higher for LAH.ns of

It doesn't matter if we have more Job Openings than we have U-3 Unemployed Workers. The CES worker data is one survey. The CPS unemployment level is a second survey. The weekly unemployment claims data is a third survey. The JOLTS job openings data is part of a fourth survey. All four survey have different sample sizes, different margins of error, and measure different things. Also, we do not know if the job openings are full-time jobs or part-time jobs.

This is the same general information that has been reported for many months. The same four sectors have the job openings, the quits, the total separations, and the hires. LAH, EHS, and TTU have three of the four lowest weekly average wages. This data was for March. If you want to reminisce about the March data, feel free to read my prior articles. We just received the April Jobs data.

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