October 14, 2021 by Clare Coffey
The federal government’s new JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report finds that job openings still outpace unemployment, with 100 openings for every 85 unemployed workers.
Job openings declined by 659,000, down to 10.4 million. The total number of job openings is still historically high, but it’s notable that this is the first time openings have gone down from one month to another since the beginning of the year.
Hires also decreased to 6.3 million, while separations remained unchanged at 6 million. Overall, companies are both hiring fewer people and trying to hire fewer people than we’ve seen in recent months. While it’s true that companies currently aren’t losing people at an accelerated rate, overall, we’re not doing well at creating new jobs.
If you’re wondering what the difference is between JOLTS and other labor statistics, you’re not alone.
The Employment Situation Report (which we covered in Monday’s blog) measures overall participation in the labor force: how many people are unemployed, how many new jobs were created, what industries and sectors have gained and lost jobs, how many people have stopped looking for work, etc.
JOLTS, on the other hand, delves into the process by which those job gains and losses happen: how many people quit their jobs, how many people were laid off, how many were hired, how many new job openings appeared, and more.
Even though they might be released close together, the Employment Situation report and JOLTS don’t cover the same time frame. The Employment Situation covers the month before it’s released, while JOLTS is two months back. In the most recent Employment Situation, we learned about the labor market in the month of September. In the most recent JOLTS, we learned about the labor market in the month of August.
As we mentioned early, even though hiring and openings decreased, separations didn’t. But within the category of separations, one metric did rise: quits, or the number of people who resigned their job.
In August, quits increased by 242,000 to 4.3 million, a 2.9% increase
Accommodations and Food services saw the most quits, with 157,000, as well as the highest percentage change.