Reclaiming Common Sense

May Records for Job Openings, Quits and Hires

Almost an all-time record for Job Openings



The monthly employment situation report, or Jobs Report, is created using two different data sets: the Current Population Survey (CPS) Jobs and Unemployment Data and the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Worker and Wages data. The two data sets have seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted components. The seasonal factors change by data set, category, month and year. The seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA)  CES data point to growth in all sectors. The CPS data has some differences between the NSA and SA data. The two data sets have been out of synchronization this year during the first four month of the year. There are a number of ways to examine the data from the two data sets.

  • The article "April Jobs Report: What On-Coming Storm" detailed how the private sector added over 1 million non-seasonally adjusted workers and reported a gain of 236,000 seasonally adjusted (SA) private sector workers and 263,000 SA Non-farm Payroll (NFP) workers.
  • Wages and workers were up month to month and annually for almost all sectors. The  article "Wages and Workers Pop during April" reported that all sectors saw non-seasonally adjusted workers increase month to month except Mining and Logging.
  • President Trump and former President Clinton are the only Presidents to reduce unemployment and to add full-time jobs during their first 27 months in office. "Five Presidents at 27 Months: Full-time Economy" details how President Trump has added more full-time jobs than former Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama combined. There has been such a large drop in unemployed workers that President Trump's participation rate is being pulled down by a "lack" of unemployed workers.
  • "Men and Women Replacing Part-time Jobs with Full-time Jobs"

The JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) data trails the Jobs report by five weeks. This month we received the May Jobs Report and the April JOLTS report. There have been numerous report in the media comparing the Job Openings Data to the Current Population Survey (CPS) Unemployment data. What is the real story? What was reported?


We had the Most April Job Openings and the second most job openings of all time. The most job openings, non-seasonally adjusted, we recorded this past October when we had 7.885 million job openings. This month we had 7.877 million job openings. This is only a difference of 8000 job openings. This could be revised in the next two months to a new record. The most job openings were in Education and Health Services (EHS,) Trade, transportation and Utilities (TTU,) Professional Business Services (PBS,) and Education Health Services, and Leisure and Hospitality (L/H.) Job openings were up month to month and April to April in Mining/Logging (M/L,) Construction, Manufacturing, Financial Services (FIRE,) EHS, LAH, and Government.


We had the most April Hires ever. We recorded 6.284 million hires, up from April 2018 when we had 6.090 non-farm payroll hires. There were 1.369 million hires in PBS, 1.313 million in EHS, 1.134 million in TTU, and 711,000 in the L/H sector. Hires were up month to month and April to April in Construction, Manufacturing, FIRE, PBS, EHS, L/H, and Government.


We also had a near record level of separations. The April record for separations was set during April of 2001 when we recorded 5.383 million non-farm payroll separations.  This month we had 5.383 million separations. We had 3.460 million quits as a part of that total separations number this month  This was a record for the month of April. The historic trend data for Quits and Separations can be found here. The current month histogram for quits and separations can be found here. Separations were up month to month an April to April in Construction, Manufacturing, IT, FIRE, PBS, EHS, and L/H.


We have an interesting situation w here we have a high "churn" rate where we have  more hires than separations, 6.369 million to 5.383 million. The highest levels of job openings, hires, quits and separations in the same for sectors: EHS, TTU, PBS, and L/H. Quits were up month to month and April to April in Manufacturing, TTU, IT,FIRE, L/H, Other Services, and Government. Normally when we see an uptick in separations it is due to layoffs or separations, not because of an elevated level of quits. Part of the growth in job openings, hires, quits, and separations is due to the size of the workforce. We have a record level of workers (CES) and Jobs (CPS.) JOLTS compares well with the CES data. The CPS data is where we find the unemployment data. All of these surveys have different sample sizes and different margins of error. We might as well compare the job openings with the Continuing Unemployment Claims recipients. We would have almost a 5:1 ratio of openings to continuing claims. We may see employers elevate wages in EHS, TTU, and L/H in order to reduce the churn rate.  Will we see the same pattern of openings, hires, separations and quits during the month of April reported next month? More records?

It's the Economy.