Job openings rebound in September

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job openings rise

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings rose in September from last month’s level. In addition, last month’s job openings figure was revised higher, reducing last month’s reported plunge in openings by 227,000. Both hiring and separation levels were down from last month’s revised figures for the economy as a whole.

Hiring and firing slows

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 10.72 million job openings at the end of September. This was up by 664,000 openings from the preliminary level reported last month, and up by 437,000 from the revised level of job openings for August in this month’s report.

The September job openings figure represents 6.5 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in September was reported to be 3.5 percent and 5.8 million people were unemployed. Another 5.8 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 September was 6.08 million, while the number of people leaving their old jobs was 5.69 million. Of those leaving their jobs, 4.06 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 2.7 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was down slightly from last month’s revised figure at 0.9 percent.

Construction employment up

The first chart, below, shows the employment situation for the construction jobs market over the last 37 months. It shows that September saw a net increase of 16,000 jobs.

construction job openings data

Construction jobs openings in September were reported to be 422,000 jobs, 21 percent higher than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to rise by 36,000 openings from August’s revised (-21,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 5.2 percent of total employment plus job openings, up from the 5.0 percent level reported last month.

Hiring was reported to be up by 11,000 jobs in September from the prior month’s revised (-24,000) jobs figure at 360,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in September was reported to be up 4 percent year-over-year.

Construction jobs total separations were reported to rise by 6,000 jobs from the prior month’s revised (-22,000) figure to 344,000 jobs. Quits were reported to fall by 56,000 jobs from August’s revised (-21,000 jobs) figure to a level of 152,000 jobs. Layoffs were reported to jump by 58,000 from August’s revised (-5,000 jobs) figure to 178,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to rise by 3,000 jobs to a level of 14,000 jobs. Quits represented 44 percent of separations for the month, down from the revised level of 62 percent reported for August.

RERL job openings soar

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 5,000 jobs in September, although August’s earlier reported gain was turned to a loss of 4,000 jobs by revisions to last month’s data.

RERL job openings data

 

The number of job openings in the RERL category was 221,000 jobs at the end of September. This was reported to be up 27,000 job openings from the revised (+17,000 jobs) level of the month before. Job openings in September were 92 percent higher than their year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 8.5 percent of total employment plus job openings.

Hiring in September was up by 3,000 jobs from August’s revised (+1,000) level at 78,000 jobs. This hiring figure was 18 percent above the year-earlier level.

Separations in the RERL jobs category in September were down 6,000 jobs from August’s revised (+7,000) figure at 73,000 jobs. Quits rose by 4,000 jobs from August’s revised (+1,000) figure at 57,000 jobs. Quits were reported to be up 4 percent for the month and represented 78 percent of total separations in September.

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.