State of the Labor Market

Job Openings and Turnover Report, July 2019: Labor Market Losing Momentum


Employers' demand for workers in the US labor market continues to slow down.

Last week’s jobs report sparked a debate over whether the slowdown in hiring is due to an economy hitting full employment, but today’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report indicates that this is actually a labor market that is losing momentum.

Year-over-year growth in job openings was negative for the second straight month. This year has seen not just a slowdown in the pace at which employers are adding job vacancies, but a significant decline.

Employers may be looking to add fewer workers, but they still aren’t getting rid of the ones they have right now. The layoff rate continues to be around where it has been the past two years. 

Good news for employees, though: Workers still have a fair amount of leverage, as open jobs outnumbered unemployed workers for the 16th straight month. 

One particularly bright note was an increase in the quits rate, which rose for the first time since June 2018. In the future, such an increase might be even less frequent if employer demand continues to stagnate. The labor market remains strong, but signs point to it slowing to where job seekers may lose out on some opportunities. 

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