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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Job Openings Decrease Moderately in October; Hiring Eases Again
by Carol Stone, CBE  November 30, 2022

• The number of job openings fall in several industries.

• New hires decline for the 8th month this year.

• Quits down but layoffs rise in October.

Job openings decreased 353,000 in October (-6.9% y/y) to 10.334 million, basically reversing their September increase of 407,000, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The September increase reflected a revision from a 437,000 increase reported last month. The job openings rate (job openings as a percentage of the sum of establishment employment plus openings) edged down to 6.3% in October from 6.5% in September. It remained below the 7.3% high during March. These series extend back to December 2000.

The decrease in job openings extended across several industries during the last year, largely reversing the increases seen in September. Construction job openings decreased (-5.3% y/y), as did manufacturing (-19.1%), trade, transportation & utilities (-16.5%), professional & business services (-12.2% y/y), and leisure & hospitality (-3.3% y/y). Even government job openings decreased year-on-year (-1.3%) The only major sector with a year-to-year increase was education & health services (+3.6% y/y), driven by an advance in health care and social assistance, (+4.8% y/y).

New hires declined 84,000 month-on-month (-6.9% y/y) in October after falling 238,000 in September, revised from 252,000. The latest decline was again widespread across industries including construction (-8.3% y/y), manufacturing (-10.8% y/y), trade, transportation & utilities (-7.9% y/y), professional & business services (-14.3% y/y), education & health services (-1.2% y/y) and leisure & hospitality (-4.2% y/y). Government hiring did increase (+9.6% y/y).

The total number of job separations increased slightly, by 18,000 in October (-2.9% y/y), after declining 393,000 in September. The separations rate remained at 3.7%, its lowest level since January 2021.

Quits declined modestly, by 34,000 (-2.6% y/y), in October, the fifth decline in six months. The quit rate (number of quits as a percent of total employment) fell to 2.6% from 2.7% during the prior three months. The quits rate fell sharply in information (0.9% in October) and more moderately in trade, transportation & utilities (3.1%) and professional & business services (2.9%). It was unchanged in financial services (1.7%) and education & health services (2.3%). The quits rate actually increased elsewhere, including manufacturing (2.1%), construction (2.4%) and leisure & hospitality (5.5%).

Layoffs & discharges rose 58,000 (+3.4% y/y) to 1.387 million following a decline of 161,000 in September. Layoff increases were spread across industries including professional & business services (15.8% y/y), information (25.8% y/y), education & health services (6.2% y/y) and manufacturing (2.0% y/y). The layoff rate remained at 0.9% in October.

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

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