Economist's Insights

More Strengths than Weaknesses in May JOLTS Signals Steady Labor Market

Jul 11, 2017

The number of open positions fell more than expected in the May JOLTS data and April’s record high was revised down 77k to the second best of the cycle. Also on a less positive note, the number of layoffs ticked higher. However, the layoffs rate was unchanged and the overall level remains healthy in a longer historical context. On the brighter side of the data, the hires rate jumped 0.2% to 3.7% as a result of the strongest monthly hiring since March 2004; total gross hires rose 429k in May. In another positive development, quits accounted for three times the impact of layoffs on total separations. Total quits, seen as a positive indicator of employees confidence in the labor market, rose by the most since December 2015.