In an earlier piece, I discussed one of my favorite economic reports: JOLTS. This is the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and it offers a glimpse of the labor market in terms of the total number of job openings and how many of those positions are being filled by workers. The quits rate is another important number as it shows just how many workers are willing to quit their jobs knowing that getting another right away or soon, and offers a level of general comfort among workers. Here is what this morning’s data shows:
In September, labor demand showed a rather positive signal as the JOLTS report for total job openings popped to 5.526 million from a revised 5.377 million in August 2015. Keep in mind that job openings peaked back in July 2015 at 5.668 million. Ultimately, this high demand will absorb yet more slack from what is a dwindling supply of available labor, and could precede wage inflation and become a major concern for Fed policy makers. However, confidence in the labor market may be limited based on the measly 1.9% quits rate for the month. The chart below shows openings, hires, and quits compared to one another since 2003. The number of openings is improving but there don’t seem to be enough qualified candidates to fill these positions.
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