Jack Dunn - Reclaiming Common Sense

We received the April Jobs Report, or Employment situation report, Friday May 4th. That was a good report on many levels. This column has already written numerous articles on the April Jobs Report. Last week Tuesday the MARCH Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report was released. In order to understand the March JOLTS report we have to remember the March JObs Report Data:

Other than that, what did we find out from the JOLTS data that we did not already know?


The Number of Job Openings for March was over 5.8 Million. It was reported that the total job opening were a seasonally adjusted 6.6 million jobs. Either way, seasonally adjusted or non-seasonally adjusted there were a considerable. We do not know if they were full-time jobs or part-time jobs. This data compares best to the Current Employment Statistics (CES) data that measures workers, not the Current Population Survey (CPS) data that measures jobs.


Four Sectors with majority of Job Openings. We saw the most openings in the Trade Transportation and Utilities Sector, The Education and Health Sector, the Leisure and Hospitality Sector, and the Professional Business Services Sector. It is also interesting to note that these four sectors had the highest levels of quits. Guess which sectors had the highest level of hires?


Three of the Four most JOLTing categories had three of the lowest average weekly wages. Leisure and Hospitality had the lowest weekly wage at $399 a week. "Other Service" came in second to last at $770 a week. Third to last was TTU at $790 a week. Education and Health Services came in at $877 a week.


Conversely, three of the top five weekly wage jobs had the lowest hires, quits, and Job openings.

  • Mining and Logging $1491
  • Information $1392
  • Construction $1142
  • Mining and Logging $1093

The Average Wage, seasonally adjusted, was skewed low during March. We also saw strong wage gains this April. The gross income is rising quickly. If wages were higher for the lowest paid sectors then the quits my slow. People may be quitting the Leisure and Hospitality sector because they are finding higher paid jobs.


This column does not often comment on the JOLTS data. The data is one month behind the current jobs report data. The data is regional, not broken down by state. The data does not delineate the full-time or part-time status. The first six tables in the JOLTS report are seasonally adjusted data. Seasonal factors change month to month, season to season, year to year, and category to category. It "tells you nothing." You need to look at the current month data and compare to the same month during prior years, non-seasonally adjusted.  The lower paying jobs have the higher Quits and Jobs Opening data. The higher paying jobs tend to  lower Quits levels and lower Hiring levels. Go figure. The data tells you nothing about JOLTS data by age group or gender. The JOLTS data does not give you wage information. If you want data on the current Month's data then ignore the JOLTS data.  This column will occasionally chime in on this JOLTS data - at least until the media realizes that there is a good reason why they normally ignore the JOLTS report.


It's the economy... from a month ago.