The latest job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s favorite economic indicators, was released this morning and it showed that there were 5.443 million job openings in America in August (lagged). That was a decrease from July’s downward-revised 5.831 million print, the weakest reading since December, and the largest monthly decline in a year. Total hires also fell in August (5.210 million), the first sequential decrease since May. However, all of this is not too surprising considering that nonfarm payrolls growth slowed significantly in August following two months of above-trend expansion. Annual growth, though, in both hires and job openings remains weak compared to the past few years, and will therefore be worth monitoring over the next few months to determine if this is a short-term trend or the start of something bigger. Elsewhere in the report, the number of unemployed workers per job opening ended August at 1.47, the highest reading since February. On the bright side, the ratio of quits to layoffs and discharges rose to 1.84 in August, one of the best readings since the turn of the century and a sign of U.S. workers’ increased willingness to give up their current job security for better employment opportunities.
Sources: Econoday, Twitter, Bloomberg, ZH, U.S. DoL, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch