August JOLTS show strength in hiring, but continued slow deceleration in the labor market

October 11, 2017
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 – by New Deal democrat
More and more commentators seem to be noticing that the disconnect between the “soft data” of openings in this survey and the “hard data” of actual hires is not a good thing. As I have pointed out many times, openings can be just chumming the water for resumes, or even laying the groundwork to hire foreign workers. The disconnect betrays an unwillingness to pay new hires more, or to engage in on the job training.

That disconnect continued in this week’s report for August. Openings continued to run about 10% higher than actual hires:


The report does give us a very granular view of the labor market, with the major shortcoming that it has only covered one full business cycle.  To recap, in the last business cycle, hires peaked and troughed before separations: 



Further, hires stagnated, and shortly thereafter involuntary separations began to rise, even as quits continued to rise for a short period of time as well:

 


[Note: above graphs show quarterly data to smooth out noise]


Here are hires vs. separations on a monthly basis for the last several years:


Once again for this report, even while quits have continued to rise, involuntary separations bottomed a year ago, and have risen  on a quarterly basis ever since.  Here’s the monthly view of the last several years: 

The recent surge in layoffs and discharges is actually similar in scale to that just before the last recession.

As I pointed out earlier this week, both the Establishment and Household employment surveys show a decelerating pace of job creation. The decelerating pace of hires and quits, and accelerating pace of layoffs and discharges, while still net positive, show a similar slow deterioration..

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