Today’s JOLTS report was, simply, a bit boring — in the best possible way. Not much has changed over the past few months, and the labor market appears to be stabilizing at a level consistent with a sustainable economy. Job openings might be elevated, but both quitting and hiring have plateaued at healthy levels similar to what we saw before the pandemic. The layoff rate also remains historically low, coming in at a rate that would have been a record before 2021. The labor market has cooled off from its 2021 highs, but demand for workers is no longer dropping off. But with labor supply still growing, this continued high level of demand won’t necessarily push up inflation and draw the Federal Reserve’s ire. We’ll get more data to confirm this narrative on Friday, but the prospects for a soft landing still look good.
Some key numbers from today’s report:
- The quits rate came in at 2.3% for the third straight month and equaled the average rate from 2019. If the quits rate can hold steady here, that suggests workers still have leverage and that wage growth may continue to slow.
- The layoff rate was 1%, a drop from last month’s rate, and about 20% below its average rate from 2017-2019.
- The ratio of job openings to unemployed workers held steady at 1.5, down from the March 2022 peak (2) but still above the immediate pre-pandemic ratio of 1.2.
- The job openings number might not change much in the next report either. Assuming that job openings grew at the same rate as the Indeed Job Postings Index since the end of September, there were 9.5 million job openings on October 27th.