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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Job Openings Increase Modestly in September; Hiring Eases
by Tom Moeller  November 1, 2022

• The number of job openings rise broadly.

• New hires decline for fourth month in the last five.

• But separations decline sharply as quits & layoffs decline.

Job openings increased 437,000 (0.4% y/y) to 10.717 million during September according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The August decline was revised to 890,000 from 1.117 million reported last month. The job openings rate (job openings as a percentage of the sum of establishment employment plus openings) rose to 6.5% in September from 6.3% in August. It remained below the 7.3% high during March. These series extend back to December 2000.

The rise in job openings extended across several industries during the last year including construction (21.3% y/y), professional & business services (4.6% y/y), education & health services (16.5% y/y) and leisure & hospitality (6.0% y/y). Factory sector openings declined for a second straight month (-14.3% y/y) while trade, transportation & utilities rose just modestly (-18.7% y/y).

New hires declined 252,000 (-6.5% y/y) in September after rising 96,000 in August, revised from 39,000. The latest decline as widespread across industries including manufacturing (-18.5% y/y), trade, transportation & utilities (-8.7% y/y), professional & business services (-8.6 y/y), education & health services (+2.4% y/y) and leisure & hospitality (-6.0% y/y). Government hiring fell to the lowest level in three months (+3.7% y/y) but the number of construction jobs rose (4.0% y/y).

The total number of job separations declined 370,000 (-5.3% y/y) in September to 5.688 million (-5.3% y/y) after rising 264,000 in August. The separations rate fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since January 2021.

Quits declined 123,000 (-4.5% y/y), the fifth decline in six months. The quit rate (number of quits as a percent of total employment) held at 2.7% for the third consecutive month. The quits rate fell sharply in manufacturing (1.9%), construction (2.0%) and leisure & hospitality (5.3%). It moved up to 3.2% in professional business services and held steady at 1.7% in financial services.

Layoffs & discharges fell 162,000 (-5.5% y/y) to 1.328 million following a 100,000 August increase. Layoff declines spread across industries including professional & business services (-18.8% y/y), trade, transportation & utilities (+6.4% y/y) and manufacturing (-22.7% y/y). The layoff rate was fairly steady at 0.9% in September.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) are available in Haver's USECON database.

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