Multifamily jobs on the rise in December

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multifamily employment rises on higher job openings

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the number of job openings in December was 9.03 million. This was reported to be up 101,000 openings month-over-month. In addition, the openings figure for November was revised higher by 135,000 openings. However, job openings were down 2,208,000 openings from the year-ago level.

Hiring was up from last month’s revised (+89,000) figure for the economy as a whole, rising 67,000 to a level of 5.62 million hires. Total separations fell 36,000 from last month’s revised (+61,000) figure to a level of 5.37 million. Within total separations, quits were reported to fall 3.7 percent while the layoffs rate rose 5.6 percent. Quits represented 63.2 percent of total separations for the month. A high number of people quitting their jobs generally means that people feel that jobs are readily available and that they can find better employment elsewhere.

Overall 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 December job openings figure represents 5.4 percent of total employment plus job openings. For comparison, the unemployment rate in December was reported to be 3.7 percent and 6.27 million people were unemployed. Another 5.67 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 December JOLT report implies an employment increase of 256,000 jobs for the month. Last month’s employment increase was revised to 153,000 jobs, down by 43,000 jobs from the gain reported last month.

Of those leaving their jobs in December, 3.39 million quit voluntarily, while 1.62 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 2.2 percent of the labor force. The involuntary separations rate was also unchanged from last month’s revised figure at 1.0 percent.

Construction employment gains again

The first chart, below, shows the employment situation for the construction jobs market over the last 37 months. It shows that December saw a net gain of 27,000 jobs in this category of multifamily employment compared to last month’s revised gain of 18,000 jobs.

construction jobs category of multifamily employment openings, hiring and layoffs for December

Construction jobs openings in December were reported to be 449,000 jobs, 8.0 percent lower than the year-earlier level. On a month-over-month basis, openings for construction jobs were reported to fall by 21,000 openings from November’s revised (+11,000) job openings figure. Job openings in the construction category represent 5.3 percent of total employment plus job openings, down from the 5.4 percent level reported last month.

Hiring was reported to be up by 5,000 jobs in December from the prior month’s revised (+1,000) jobs figure at 368,000 new hires. The number of construction jobs that were filled in December was reported to be down 3.2 percent year-over-year.

Construction jobs total separations were reported to fall by 4,000 jobs from the prior month’s revised (-6,000) figure to 341,000 jobs. Quits were reported to be fall by 16,000 jobs from November’s revised (-7,000) figure at a level of 150,000 jobs. Quits represented 44.0 percent of separations for the month, down by 5.3 percentage points from the level reported last month and well below the level for the economy as a whole.

Layoffs were reported to fall by 3,000 from November’s revised (+1,000) figure to 169,000 jobs. “Other separations” which includes retirements and transfers, were reported to be up 14,000 at 21,000 jobs.

RERL job openings higher as job churn increases

The last chart, below, shows the employment situation for the real estate and rental and leasing (RERL) jobs category. Employment in this category of multifamily employment was reported to rise by 2,000 jobs in December.

job opening, hiring and layoff data for the real estate jobs category of multifamily employment

The number of job openings in the RERL category was reported to be 154,000 jobs at the end of December. This was up 26,000 job openings, or 20 percent, from the revised (+2,000) level of the month before. However, job openings in December were 6.7 percent lower than the year-earlier level. Job openings in the RERL category represent 5.9 percent of total employment plus job openings.

Hiring in December was up by 12,000 jobs from November’s revised (-2,000) figure at 84,000 jobs. The hiring figure was 2.4 percent above the year-earlier level.

Total separations in the RERL jobs category in December were up by 11,000 from November’s unchanged figure at 82,000 jobs. Quits were up by 10,000 from November’s revised (+9,000) figure at 52,000 jobs. Quits represented 63 percent of total separations in December. Layoffs were reported to rise by 1,000 from November’s revised (-2,000) figure to 24,000 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.