Job openings rebound in July

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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings rose in July from last month’s level. This is on top of last month’s job openings figure being revised upward. Hiring and separations were both down slightly from last month’s revised figures for the economy as a whole, but they were up for both the construction jobs and the real estate and rental and leasing jobs that are important to the multifamily housing industry.

Overall jobs market has a good month

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 11.24 million job openings at the end of July. This was up by 541,000 openings from the preliminary level reported last month, and up by 199,000 from the revised level of job openings for June in this month’s report. The number of job openings is down by 616,000 from the record level seen in March of this year.

The July job openings figure represents 6.9 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in July was reported to be 3.5 percent and 5.7 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 July was 6.38 million, while the number of people leaving their old jobs was 5.93 million. Of those leaving their jobs, 4.18 million quit voluntarily, while 1.40 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 2.7 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was unchanged from last month’s figure at 0.9 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 July saw a net increase of 9,500 jobs. In addition, June’s job gains reported last month were revised upward by 2,000 jobs.

construction employment job openigs

Construction jobs openings in July were reported to be 375,000 jobs,11 percent higher than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to rise by 22,000 openings from June’s revised (+19,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 4.6 percent of total employment plus job openings, up from the 4.2 percent level reported last month.

Hiring was reported to be up by 32,000 jobs in July from the prior month’s revised (+6,000) jobs figure at 384,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in July was reported to be up 5 percent year-over-year.

Construction jobs total separations were reported to rise by 25,000 jobs in July to 350,000 jobs. Quits were reported to rise by 12,000 jobs from June’s revised (-2,000 jobs) figure to a level of 193,000 jobs. Layoffs were reported to increase by 9,000 from June’s revised (+6,000 jobs) figure to 144,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to rise by 3,000 jobs to a level of 13,000 jobs. Quits represented 55 percent of separations for the month, down from the revised level of 56 percent reported for June.

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 9,000 jobs in July. However, last month’s RERL job gains were revised down from 12,000 jobs to 7,000 jobs.

real estate employment

The number of job openings in the RERL category was 162,000 jobs at the end of July. This was reported to be up 17,000 job openings from the revised (+13,000 jobs) level of the month before. Job openings in July were 16 percent lower than their year-earlier level, but last July’s job openings figure was exceptionally high. Job openings in the RERL category represent 6.4 percent of total employment plus job openings.

Hiring in July was up by 10,000 jobs from June’s level at 75,000 jobs. This hiring figure was 16 percent below the year-earlier level.

Separations in the RERL jobs category in July were up 8,000 jobs from June’s revised (+5,000) figure at 66,000 jobs. Quits rose by 5,000 jobs from June’s revised (+7,000) figure at 46,000 jobs. Quits were reported to be up 12 percent for the month and represented 70 percent of total separations in July.

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.