Skip nav to main content.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of job openings fell to 6.9 million on the last business day of…

  • January 28, 2019

The number of job openings fell to 6.9 million on the last business day of November, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Over the month, hires edged down to 5.7 million, quits edged down to 3.4 million, and total separations were little changed at 5.5 million.

Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

On the last business day of November, the job openings level fell to 6.9 million (-243,000). The job openings rate was 4.4 percent.

The number of job openings decreased for total private (-237,000) and was little changed for government. Job openings increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+40,000).

The job openings level decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in other services (-66,000) and construction (-45,000). Job openings fell in the West region.

Should we be alarmed by these findings? Given the stellar jobs data from December, it’s likely that the drop in job openings mainly reflect the slowdown in the housing market, (with fewer construction jobs) and a slowing manufacturing sector.

Neither of those factors are fixed: Construction slows in winter anyway. Add in higher interest rates impacting new housing starts and you get a big question mark. Let’s judge this sector’s hiring performance later in the year. The manufacturing economy is currently reacting to tariffs – a situation that could be relieved by successful negotiations between Washington and Beijing.

In other words, this latest BLS data may speak to a slowdown, or it may just be noise. The actual jobs numbers speak to strength in the economy, so let’s not get too worked up over some uneven data. So far in 2019, the trend still favors continued strength in hiring.

Leave a Comment