Job openings down again in June

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job openings

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings declined in June from last month’s level. This was the third month in a row of declining job openings. Hiring was down slightly while separations were up slightly during the month.

Overall jobs market shows signs of weakening

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 10.70 million job openings at the end of June. This was reported to be down by 605,000 openings from the preliminary level reported last month. The number of job openings is down by 1,157,000 from the record level seen in March of this year.

The June job openings figure represents 6.6 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in June was reported to be 3.6 percent and 5.9 million people were unemployed. Another 5.7 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 June was 6.37 million, while the number of people leaving their old jobs was 5.93 million. Of those leaving their jobs, 4.24 million quit voluntarily, while 1.33 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 figure at 2.8 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was also unchanged from last month’s revised figure at 0.9 percent.

Construction employment rises despite fewer openings

The first chart, below, shows the employment situation for the construction jobs market over the last 37 months. It shows that June saw a net increase of 29,000 jobs. However, May’s job gains reported last month were revised downward by 4,000 jobs.

construction jobs data

Construction jobs openings in June were reported to be 334,000 jobs, 4 percent higher than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to fall by 71,000 openings from May’s revised (-29,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 4.2 percent of total employment plus job openings, down from the 5.4 percent level reported last month.

Hiring was reported to be down by 13,000 jobs in June from the prior month’s revised (-2,000) jobs figure at 346,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in June was reported to be down 1 percent year-over-year.

Construction jobs total separations were reported to fall by 19,000 jobs in June to 317,000 jobs. Quits were reported to fall by 51,000 jobs from May’s revised (+10,000 jobs) figure to a level of 179,000 jobs. Layoffs were reported to increase by 32,000 jobs from May’s revised (-8,000 jobs) figure to 129,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to be unchanged at 9,000 jobs. Quits represented 57 percent of separations for the month, down from the revised level of 69 percent reported for May.

RERL jobs continue gains

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 rise by 12,000 jobs in June. However, last month’s RERL job gains were revised downward from 16,000 jobs to 9,000 jobs.

RERL JOLTS multifamily jobs data

The number of job openings in the RERL category was 132,000 jobs at the end of June. This was reported to be down 22,000 job openings from the revised (-1,000 jobs) level of the month before. Job openings in June were 27 percent higher than their year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 5.3 percent of total employment plus job openings.

Hiring in June was down by 14,000 jobs from May’s revised (-4,000 jobs) level at 65,000 jobs. This hiring figure was 6 percent below the year-earlier level.

Separations in the RERL jobs category in June were down 17,000 jobs from May’s revised figure at 53,000 jobs. Quits fell by 13,000 jobs from May’s figure to 47,000 jobs. Quits were reported to be down 13 percent for the month and represented 64 percent of total separations in June.

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.