Economist's Insights

Unjumbling the October JOLTS Report Shows Continued Employment Strength

Dec 11, 2017

The October JOLTS Report was mixed with a directionally disappointing change in the level of openings that was offset somewhat by a faster pace of hiring and a fewer number of firings. Openings dropped to 5.996MM in October from a revised higher 6.177MM in September. The monthly decline was the largest since May and the absolute value of openings was the smallest since the same month. To be sure, total openings remains at a solid level. The decline in overall vacancies was spread across most private sectors with construction and leisure and hospitality the only two groups to report more open positions. The net result was the openings rate easing to 3.9% from its cycle-high of 4.0%. Hiring rose 232k which was enough to take the hires rate up to 3.8%, matching the best level of the expansion. Total quits were unchanged in October but layoffs experienced a healthy monthly drop. Overall, a positive report for the employment picture.