February 2018 Headline JOLTS Job Openings Unchanged

The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future jobs growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings modestly declined. The headline view was little changed.

Analyst Opinion of JOLTS Data

The headline seasonally adjusted view shows little change in job openings - but the unadjusted data shows slowing. Even with the decline this month, JOLTS non-adjusted job openings remain about average for what was seen in the last 3 years.

Market expectations from Bloomberg / Econoday was 6.000 M to 6.350 M (consensus 6.150 M) versus actual of 6.1 million.

The graphs below uses year-over year growth of JOLTS Job Openings - both the level of openings and rate of openings.

Last month's graphs

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This Month's Graphs

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The JOLTS Unadjusted Private hires rate (percent of hires compared to size of workforce) and the separations rate (percent of separations compared to size of workforce - separations are the workforce which quit or was laid off).

Unadjusted Hires (blue line) and Unadjusted Separation Levels (red line) - Non-Farm Private

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Please note that Econintersect has not been able use the hire rate or the separation rate (or a combination thereof) to help in understanding future jobs growth. A Philly Fed study agrees with Econintersect's assessment. JOLTS is issued a month later than the jobs data - and correlates against one month old data.

For information, the Econintersect Employment Index and the Conference Board's Employment Index:

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Caveats on the Use of JOLTS

This data series historically is very noisy which likely is a result of data gathering issues and/or seasonal adjustments. Therefore this series must be trended to provide any understanding of the dynamics. One of two months of good or bad data are not predictive.

Disclosure: None.

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Moon Kil Woong 5 years ago Contributor's comment

Its amazing how much news can be made about so little change. This year is headed for a weak upturn in growth barring something major, yet we have been hearing about strong growth and then worries about weak growth. Ho Hum, reality is far less newsworthy.

Steven Hansen 5 years ago Author's comment

Yah, indicators are moving in several directions - this may turn out to be a soft year after all.

Moon Kil Woong 5 years ago Contributor's comment

Yes, the bears have some points to keep the bulls out of the China shop, but so far nothing to take down growth and earnings significantly. I'm expecting mild rotation towards inflation caused mostly by the weak dollar and oil rising. So far it looks like its happening.