Job Openings At Record High, 4.8 Million More Than Unemployed Workers

March 9, 2022   |   Tags:
Job Openings At Record High, 4.8 Million More Than Unemployed Workers

Last month, the BLS reported that the US job market was plagued by a near record 10.925 million job openings. Then moments ago, the BLS published its latest, January JOLTS report according to which job openings had hit a new record high11.263 million, but not really,  because just as all other labor data else was adjusted sharply higher for 2022 (presumably to account for broken seasonal factors due to covid), the December job openings were revised by 523 thousand higher to 11.448 million, a number which is now the highest on record, and which means that what would otherwise be a record print of 11.263MM- compared to December unrevised 10.925MM - is actually a decline of 185K job openings compared to the revised 11.448MM.

Splitting hairs aside, whether it was in December or January, doesn't matter because as of this moment there is a record number of job openings in the US job market, a phenomenon which Jeff Gundlach yesterday attributed to the surging "crime-force participation rate", claiming that lack of prosecution has made millions of potential workers into hardened shoplifting criminals.

Looking at the details, job openings decreased in several industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-288,000); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-132,000); and federal government (-60,000). Job openings increased in other services (+136,000) and in durable goods manufacturing (+85,000).

What we find far more remarkable, however, is that amid the continued tightening in the labor market, the bump in job openings meant that there was a new record, or 4.8  million (ignoring last month's upward revision), more vacant jobs than unemployed workers in January, confirming that the US labor market remains woefully, perhaps irreparably cracked.

And with far more job openings than unemployed workers, this meant that in December there were again less than 1 unemployed workers - a record low 0.5783 to be exact - for every job opening.

And while the number of job openings may have declined sequentially if one uses the adjusted data, this was offset by a modest increase in the number of hires, which rose from 6.450MM to 6.457MM in January.

One last observation comes from the January quits rate: after the number of Americans quitting their job hit an all time high 4.510 million in November, it has dropped modestly for two months in a row, and in January reached 4.252 million, which while still one of the highest on record, suggests that at least some workers are starting to stay put instead of bouncing around in hopes of getting a better paycheck elsewhere.

The quits rate was 2.8%. Quits decreased in retail trade (-69,000) and in information (-20,000) but increased in finance and insurance (+30,000). The number of quits decreased in the Midwest region.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/09/2022 - 10:29