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BLS: Job Openings “Little Changed” at 6.5 Million in November

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by Calculated Risk on 1/12/2021 10:06:00 AM

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.5 million on the last business day of November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires were little changed at 6.0 million while total separations increased to 5.4 million. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.2 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate increased to 1.4 percent.
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for November, the most recent employment report was for December.

Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are usually pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

The huge spikes in layoffs and discharges in March and April 2020 are labeled, but off the chart to better show the usual data.

Jobs openings decreased in November to 6.527 million from 6.632 million in October.

The number of job openings (yellow) were down 3.9% year-over-year.  Note that job openings were declining a year ago prior to the pandemic.

Quits were down 10.5% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

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