Fri Mar 16 09:00:00 CDT 2018

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous Revised
Job Openings 5.800M 5.800M to 5.890M 6.312M 5.811M 5.667M

JOLTS proved volatile in the January report, headlined by a far higher-than-expected 6.312 million for job openings but including heavy downward revisions to prior months. After the dust clears, openings are a very wide 729,000 above hires which came in at 5.583 million. This spread suggests that employers have lots of jobs to fill and may be having a hard time finding the right candidates.

Details include rising openings for construction and for warehousing and especially for professional and business services where gains point to general and immediate demand for labor. Another detail is the quits rate which is little changed at 2.2 percent and not -- despite how strong demand for labor is -- pointing to confidence among workers to shift jobs for higher pay.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
Job openings are expected to hold steady in January at 5.800 million vs December's lower-than-expected 5.811 million which marked the third decline in five months and pulled down the year-on-year gain to what is a still healthy 4.9 percent. In an economy at or close to full employment and possibly nearing the risk of wage inflation, a bit of cooling in openings might be a welcome outcome.

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.