Job openings remain high in April

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job openings hiring

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings declined in April from the record high hit last month, but remained at the third highest level seen in this data series. Hiring and separations also declined during the month.

Overall jobs market continues gains

For a discussion of the JOLT report and how it relates to the Employment Situation Report, please see the paragraph at the end of this article.

The BLS reported that there were 11.40 million job openings at the end of April. This was reported to be down by 455,000 from the preliminary level of openings reported last month. However, much of this reported decline was due to last month’s figure being revised upward by 305,000 openings.

The April job openings figure represents 7.0 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in April was reported to be 3.6 percent and 5.9 million people were unemployed. Another 5.9 million people said that they would like a job but were not counted as being in the labor force since they were not actively seeking employment.

The number of people hired for a new job in April was 6.59 million, while the number of people leaving their old jobs was 6.03 million. Of those leaving their jobs, 4.42 million quit voluntarily, while 1.25 million people were involuntarily separated from their jobs. The remainder of people leaving their jobs left for other reasons, such as retirements or transfers. The portion of people quitting their jobs was unchanged from last month’s revised figure at 2.9 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate fell slightly to 0.8 percent.

Construction employment rises

The first chart, below, shows the employment situation for the construction jobs market over the last 37 months. It shows that April saw a net increase of 6,000 jobs. In addition, March’s job gains were revised upward from 9,000 jobs gained to 19,000 jobs gained.

construction jobs

Construction jobs openings in April were reported to be 449,000 jobs, 36 percent higher than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to rise by 23,000 openings from March’s revised (+30,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 5.6 percent of total construction employment plus job openings.

Hiring was reported to be down by 32,000 jobs in April from the prior month’s nearly unchanged figure at 354,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in March was reported to be down 11.3 percent month-over-month, but up 6.0 percent year-over-year.

Construction jobs separations were reported to fall by 32,000 jobs in April to 348,000 jobs. Quits were reported to fall by 27,000 jobs from March’s revised (+6,000 jobs) figure to a level of 221,000 jobs. Layoffs were reported to rise by 5,000 from March’s revised (-11,000 jobs) figure to 115,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported fall by 10,000 jobs from March’s revised (-4,000 jobs) figure to 12,000 jobs. Quits represented 64 percent of separations for the month.

Quits from RERL jobs leap higher

The last chart, below, shows the employment situation for the real estate and rental and leasing (RERL) jobs category. Employment in this jobs category was reported to fall by 5,000 jobs, the first drop since the pandemic lockdowns were imposed in the spring of 2020.

real estate jobs trends

The number of job openings in the RERL category was 168,000 jobs at the end of April, up 35,000 jobs from the revised level (-2,000 openings) of the month before. Job openings in April were 17 percent higher than their year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 6.7 percent of total employment plus job openings.

Hiring in April was up by 21,000 jobs from March’s revised (-1,000 jobs) level at 94,000 jobs. This hiring figure was 34 percent above the year-earlier level.

Separations in the RERL jobs category in April were up 37,000 jobs from March’s figure at 99,000 jobs. Quits surged by 37,000 jobs from March’s revised (+1,000 jobs) figure at 81,000 jobs. Quits were reported to be up 84 percent for the month and represented 82 percent of total separations in April.

The numbers given in the JOLT report are seasonally adjusted and are subject to revision. It is common for small adjustments to be made in subsequent reports, particularly to the data for the most recent month. The full current JOLT report can be found here.

Comparing the reports

The US labor market is very dynamic with many people changing jobs in any given month. The JOLT report documents this dynamism by providing details about job openings, hiring and separations. However, it does not break down the jobs market into as fine categories as does the Employment Situation Report, which provides data on total employment and unemployment. For example, while the Employment Situation Report separates residential construction from other construction employment, the JOLT report does not. The Employment Situation Report separates residential property managers from other types of real estate and rental and leasing professionals, but the JOLT report does not. However, the JOLT report provides a look at what is driving the employment gains (or losses) in broad employment categories.