The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings in April was 10.10 million, up 358,000 openings from last month’s revised (+155,000) figure. This reverses a trend of declining job openings that had been in place since December. However, job openings were down 1.65 million openings from the year-ago level.
Hiring was up slightly from last month’s revised figure for the economy as a whole, rising 49,000 to a level of 6.12 million hires. Total separations fell 286,000 to a level of 5.71 million. Within total separations, quits fell 1 percent while layoffs fell 14 percent. Quits represented 66 percent of total separations for the month.
Employment rises again
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 April job openings figure represents 6.1 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in April was reported to be 3.4 percent and 5.7 million people were unemployed. Another 5.3 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 excess of hiring over separations in April resulted in an employment increase of 407,000 jobs.
Of those leaving their jobs in April, 3.79 million quit voluntarily, while 1.58 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 down from last month’s figure at 2.4 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was also down from last month’s revised figure at 1.0 percent.
Construction layoffs reverse last month’s increase
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 loss of 15,000 construction jobs. Revisions to March’s results raised the construction jobs losses for that month by 15,000 jobs to 71,000 jobs.
Construction jobs openings in April were reported to be 383,000 jobs, 8.4 percent lower than the year-earlier figure. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to rise by 68,000 openings from March’s revised (-26,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 4.6 percent of total employment plus job openings, up from the 4.1 percent level reported last month.
Hiring was reported to be down by 27,000 jobs in April from the prior month’s revised (-17,000) jobs figure at 356,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in April was reported to be up 6.6 percent year-over-year.
Construction jobs total separations were reported to fall by 83,000 jobs from the prior month’s revised (-2,000) figure to 371,000 jobs. Quits were reported to rise by 23,000 jobs from March’s revised (-9,000) figure to a level of 166,000 jobs. Layoffs were reported to fall by 113,000 from March’s revised (+8,000) figure to 189,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to be up 6,000 at 15,000 jobs. Quits represented 45 percent of separations for the month, up from the revised level of 32 percent reported for March.
RERL job openings fall
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 8,000 jobs in April. Data revisions resulted in last month’s reported employment loss being revised lower to a loss of 3,000 jobs.
The number of job openings in the RERL category was reported to be 102,000 jobs at the end of April. This was down 28,000 job openings from the revised (-11,000) level of the month before. Job openings in April were at their lowest level since October 2021 and were 35 percent lower than their year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 4.0 percent of total employment plus job openings.
Hiring in April was up by 11,000 jobs from March’s revised (+7,000) level at 82,000 jobs. This hiring figure was 8.9 percent below the year-earlier level.
Total separations in the RERL jobs category in April were unchanged from March’s revised (+5,000) figure at 74,000 jobs. Quits were up by 5,000 jobs from March’s revised (+3,000) figure at 57,000 jobs. Quits represented 77 percent of total separations in April, up from the revised level of 70 percent in March. Layoffs were reported to fall by 5,000 from March’s revised (+2,000) figure to 16,000 jobs.
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.