PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Job Market Remains Strong: Latest Data on Openings, Hires and Quits:

By at 8 August, 2019, 11:51 am

by Raymond J. Keating-

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report on job openings and labor turnover pointed to job openings, hires and quits remaining at healthy rates.

The job openings rate (i.e., job openings divided by total employment plus job openings) in June came in at 4.6 percent, and has remained in a record high range – from 4.5 percent to 4.8 percent – since April 2018. (As noted in Chart 1, this data set goes back to December 2000.)

Chart 1: Job Openings Rate, December 2000 to June 2019

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Going along with the increase in job openings, the hires rate also has moved up over the past year-plus. However, the hires rates has not reached record levels, leaving a notable gap between job openings and hires.

Chart 2: Hires Rate, December 2000 to June 2019

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Finally, the quits rate (the number of people quitting their jobs as a share of total employment) is an interesting piece of data that effectively measures worker confidence. When people are confident in getting another job, or have another source of employment lined up, the quits rate will rise. As noted in Chart 3, the quits rate rose from early 2013 to June 2018 – at that point hitting the high that had been registered shortly before the 2007-to-2009-recession (the pre-2001-recession level was slightly higher) and staying at that level since.

Chart 3: Quits Rate, December 2000 to June 2019

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

These data point to a tight labor market, as well as a considerable number of workers still failing to enter the labor force.

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Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

 

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