State of the Labor Market

December 2018 JOLTS Report: Number of Jobs Openings at All-Time High

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The December Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report continues to tell a story of strong labor demand in the US economy

The number of job openings is at an all-time high of 7.3 million. Both the quits rate, at 2.3 percent, and layoffs rate, at 1.1 percent, are flat. In particular, it’s welcome news that the quits rate has flattened out a bit and that the declining trend from the previous month has been arrested.

With a labor market this tight, you may expect the quits rate to be going up or at a higher level already. The big question is whether this a temporary lull, or if the quits rate has hit its high point. That being said, when a job ends, the vast majority of those separations are quits rather than layoffs, which is a good sign.

Strong labor demand continues, but we will keep an eye on how much stronger labor demand can get moving forward, and whether it will turn into increased quitting and workers finding new jobs.

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