The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report shows openings at the end of September fell to 7 million from an upwardly revised record high in August.

Job Openings

On the last business day of September, the job openings level fell to 7.0 million (-284,000), after reaching a revised series high of 7.3 million in August. The job openings rate was 4.5 percent in September. The number of job openings edged down for total private (-188,000) and fell in government (-96,000). Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+71,000). The number of job openings decreased in many industries, with the largest decreases in professional and business services (-118,000), finance and insurance (-82,000), and state and local government, excluding education (-67,000). Job openings decreased in the South region.

Hires

The number of hires in September was little changed at 5.7 million, after reaching a revised series high of 5.9 million in August. The hires rate was 3.8 percent in September. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires were little changed in all industries. Hires decreased in the West region.

Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. The number of total separations was little changed at 5.7 million in September. The total separations rate was 3.8 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and edged down for government (-28,000). Total separations decreased in state and local government education (-21,000). The number of total separations decreased in the West region.

The number of quits was little changed in September at 3.6 million. The quits rate was 2.4 percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits increased in educational services (+15,000), but decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-20,000) and state and local government education (-10,000). The number of quits decreased in the West region.

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in September at 1.7 million. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for total private and edged down for government (-19,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all industries and regions.

Case for Fictitious Numbers

  • Posting job openings on the internet is cheap. This does not mean companies are actually looking to hire.
  • Some companies want to investigate resumes just see what's out there.
  • Some companies prefer lower-pay foreign workers via the H1B Visa process. They post jobs with more qualifications than they really need to make a case no domestic workers applied.
  • For low-pay high-turnover jobs, companies keep many jobs open because they expect quits. There were 3.6 million quits in September.

If there really was a shortage of 7 million workers, wages would be soaring.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock