May 2021 JOLTS Report: Demand for Workers Remains Strong
This report isn’t quite the barn burner of last month, but the data do suggest that demand for workers is still very strong. Job openings are still near historic highs, the rate of quitting is still above pre-pandemic levels and employers are laying off workers at record lows. The outlook for hiring remains bright.
While job openings were flat during May, the number of unemployed workers did decline. The result is that the ratio of unemployed workers to job openings declined. These ratios are all still above pre-pandemic levels, suggesting that the labor market can still get tighter.
Employers not only want to hire a large number of new employees, but they also want to hold onto the ones they have. The layoffs and discharge rate declined to a new all-time low in May at 0.9%.
The May numbers may not be as exciting as the April report, but take a step back and there’s a lot to like here. Demand for workers remains strong and layoffs are historically low a year after record highs. The labor market continues to make progress.
Nick Bunker is the Economic Research Director for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the U.S. labor market. He was previously a Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, an economics think tank. Prior to that, Nick was a Research Assistant at the Center for American Progress. He holds a B.S.F.S. in international economics from Georgetown University.