Job openings totaled a very solid 5.5 million in data for November, up slightly from a revised October and right in line with trend. The number of hirings also remained in trend, at 5.2 million and still well below openings, a mismatch that first appeared about 2 years ago. The lag in hiring as well as the wide separation between the number of openings and the number of unemployed (at 7.4 million in the November employment report) hint at a skills gap in the labor market, that employers are having a hard time finding the right people.
The Labor Department's JOLTS report tracks monthly change in job openings and offers rates on hiring and quits. The reporting period lags other employment data including the employment situation report. The word JOLTS stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey.
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 changesâ€such as job openings, hires, and separations.