The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings in August was 9.61 million, up 690,000 openings month-over-month. In addition, last month’s job openings figure was revised higher by 90,000 jobs. Job openings were down 558,000 openings from the year-ago level.
Hiring was up from last month’s revised (+49,000) figure for the economy as a whole, rising 35,000 to a level of 5.86 million hires. Total separations rose 38,000 from last month’s revised (+155,000) figure to a level of 5.68 million. Within total separations, quits were reported to rise 0.5 percent while layoffs were nearly unchanged. Quits represented 64.1 percent of total separations for the month.
Overall employment still rising
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 August job openings figure represents 5.8 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in August was reported to be 3.8 percent and 6.36 million people were unemployed. Another 5.37 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 the August JOLT report implies an employment increase of 181,000 jobs for the month. Last month’s employment increase was revised to 184,000 jobs, down by 106,000 jobs from the gain reported last month.
Of those leaving their jobs in August, 3.64 million quit voluntarily, while 1.68 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 2.3 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was unchanged from last month’s revised figure at 1.1 percent.
Construction openings and hiring fall
The first chart, below, shows the employment situation for the construction jobs market over the last 37 months. It shows that August saw a net gain of 19,000 construction jobs, up by 1,000 from last month’s figure.
Construction jobs openings in August were reported to be 350,000 jobs, 1.5 percent lower than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to fall by 26,000 openings from July’s revised (-10,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 4.2 percent of total employment plus job openings, down from the 4.4 percent level reported last month.
Hiring was reported to be down 26,000 jobs in August from the prior month’s revised (-4,000) jobs figure at 356,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in August was reported to be down 6.8 percent year-over-year.
Construction jobs total separations were reported to fall by 27,000 jobs from the prior month’s revised (-4,000) figure to 337,000 jobs. Quits were reported to fall by 15,000 jobs from July’s revised (-5,000) figure to a level of 167,000 jobs.
Layoffs were reported to fall by 19,000 from July’s revised (+7,000) figure to 159,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to be up 7,000 at 11,000 jobs. Quits represented 50 percent of separations for the month, down by one percentage point from July’s level.
RERL job openings and hiring also 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 fall by 8,000 jobs in August.
The number of job openings in the RERL category was reported to be 146,000 jobs at the end of August. This was down 8,000 job openings from the revised (+1,000) level of the month before. Job openings in August were 18.9 percent lower than their year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 5.7 percent of total employment plus job openings.
Hiring in August was down by 10,000 jobs from July’s revised (-1,000) level at 69,000 jobs. The hiring figure was 22 percent below the year-earlier level.
Total separations in the RERL jobs category in August were up by 8,000 from July’s revised (+6,000) figure at 77,000 jobs. Quits were unchanged from July’s revised (+4,000) figure at 47,000 jobs. Quits represented 61 percent of total separations in August, down from the revised level of 68 percent in July. Layoffs were reported to rise by 4,000 from July’s figure to 21,000 jobs.
The numbers given in the JOLT report are seasonally adjusted and are subject to revision. It is common for 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.