State of the Labor Market

March 2019 JOLTS: Slow but Steady Increase in Worker Confidence

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After a large decline in February, the number of job openings increased by almost 350,000 in March.

The most recent federal Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report is a calming return to the trend we’ve seen for years now: high labor demand translating into a slow but steady increase in worker confidence. After a large decline in February, the number of job openings increased by almost 350,000 in March. This uptick is a positive sign, though year-over-year growth in job postings is still on the decline.

The ratio of unemployed workers to open jobs declined in March after increasing the last three months. Job postings have now outnumbered the ranks of the unemployed for over a year now, a sign of how strong labor demand is relative to the officially unemployed. While quits have increased, the speed at which they are growing is slow and declined in March.

After a blockbuster 2018, a slowdown in job posting growth shouldn’t cause too much alarm. Employers are still trying to hire, though the pace at which they are looking to hire has slowed down.

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