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Job Openings Drop to 7 Million, Employment Still Rising

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released September’s JOLTS survey which helps measure US jobs vacancies in multiple sectors by surveying employers about recruitment, hires, separations, employment and job openings. The survey defines a job as “open” if it there is a specific position open with work available for that position, the job could could start within the next 30 days, and there is active recruiting taking place for the position.

Key Takeaways

  • The number of job openings decreased to 7.0 million on the last business day of September
  • Little change was seen in hires and separations which came in at 5.7 million
  • The rate of quitting as a cause of separation was unchanged at 2.4 percent
  • The rate of layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent.

Job openings fell 248,000 positions after reaching a revised high in August of 7.3 million. The private sector saw a decrease of 188,000 jobs available while a drop of 96,000 was observed in available government positions.

In healthcare and social assistance job openings increased by 71,000 positions, but most industries saw reductions with the biggest losses in professional and business services (-118,000), finance and insurance (-82,000), and state and local government excluding education (-67,000).

Jobs openings decreased overall in the South, and hires decreased in the West. After an overall revised series high of 5.9 million hires in August, the total number of September hires was 5.7 million with a rate of 3.8% and no significant change in any particular industry.

Staff Turnover

The total separations or turnover saw little change in September at 5.7 million and a rate of 3.8%. The private sector held steady while separations for government decreased by 28,000 in September and by 21,000 for state and local government education with separations in the West down overall.

Of those separations, 3.6 million workers quit voluntarily, a figure similar to the previous month with a rate of 2.4%. Quits increased by 15,000 for educational services employees and decreased in the transportation, warehousing and utilities sector by 20,000 with a reduction of 10,000 for state and local government education employees.

The rate of layoffs was little changed at 1.1% with 1.7 million layoffs or discharges (instances of employees being fired) in September. The government sector saw a reduction of 19,000 layoffs/discharges while other sector layoff rates remained relatively unchanged.

Net Change in Employment

Overall, September saw a net employment gain of 2.5 million with 67.5 million hires and 65.1 million separations, meaning employment has slowed down but is still on the rise which is supported by the recent news that jobless claims have hit a 45 year low with the best employment rate in decades.

With expectations of 7.09 million job openings as opposed to 7 million, the data can be taken as potentially bearish for the US dollar and bullish for gold which has seen little change so far today and is trading at $1,229.12/oz.