Job openings, which had been extremely strong, are falling quickly, to 5.383 million in October vs a revised 5.534 million in September and, going back to July, a recovery peak of 5.668 million. As a percentage of total employment, job openings fell 1 tenth to 3.6 percent which is still, for comparison, 2 tenths higher than October last year. The hiring rate held steady at 3.6 percent with the quits rate also steady, at 1.9 percent which is low for this reading and does not point to worker confidence in switching jobs. One plus is a 1 tenth dip in the layoff rate to 1.2 percent. The fact that job openings surged during the third quarter limits the impact of October's drop. And there is one plus in the drop in openings (at least if you're a hawk at the Fed), is that it does not point to an increasing pace of labor market utilization at a time when available labor is diminishing which in turn points to less pressure on wages.
The JOLTS report is the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The headline number is job openings.
The JOLTS report defines Job Openings as all positions that are open (not filled) on the last business day of the month. A job is "open" only if it meets all three of the following conditions:
* A specific position exists and there is work available for that position. The position can be full-time or part-time, and it can be permanent, short-term, or seasonal, and
* The job could start within 30 days, whether or not the establishment finds a suitable candidate during that time, and
* There is active recruiting for workers from outside the establishment location that has the opening.
Active recruiting means the establishment is taking steps to fill a position. It may include advertising in newspapers, on television, or on radio; posting Internet notices; posting "help wanted" signs; networking with colleagues or making "word of mouth" announcements; accepting applications; interviewing candidates; contacting employment agencies; or soliciting employees at job fairs, state or local employment offices, or similar sources.
Job Openings does not include:
* Positions open only to internal transfers, promotions or demotions, or recall from layoffs
* Openings for positions with start dates more than 30 days in the future
* Positions for which employees have been hired, but the employees have not yet reported for work
* Positions to be filled by employees of temporary help agencies, employee leasing companies, outside contractors, or consultants. A separate form is used to collect information from temporary help/employee leasing firms for these employees.
JOLTS defines hires as all additions to the payroll during the month. JOLTS defines separations as all employees separated from the payroll during the calendar month.
Although lagging the release timing of the employment situation report by a month, JOLTS provides additional information on the labor market. The payroll survey in the employment situation report provides numbers on net job changes. JOLTS breaks down labor market data into pre-net changessuch as job openings, hires, and separations.