JOLTS stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The July 12th report on May 2011 data shows there were 4.68 official unemployed people hunting for a job to every position available. There were only 2,974,000 job openings for May 2011, almost the same, +0.7%, from the previous month. Below is the graph of number of official unemployed per job opening for May 2011.
If one takes the official broader definition of unemployment, or U6, in May at 15.8%, the ratio becomes even worse, 8.28* unemployed people per each job opening for May. Bear in mind U6 jumped to 16.2% in June. Below is the graph of number of unemployed, using the broader U6 unemployment definition, per job opening.
If you do not like the use of U6 to look at the real number of people looking for a job to actual opportunities, consider this number. In May 2011, of those not in the labor force, 6,227,000 were actually wanting a job. In June that number was 6.5 million.
The rates below mean the number of openings, hires, fires percentage of the total employment. Openings are added to the total employment for it's ratio.
- openings rate - 2.2%
- hires rate - 3.1%
- separations rate - 3.1%
Below are raw job openings, way below pre-recession levels.
Believe this or not, one month past the so called end of the Great Recession, July 2009, job openings have only increased 862,000. That's pathetic.
We can see some of this in the actual hires from May, which only increased 69,000, or 1.72%. Before you get excited about this measly percentage, read on to separations.
Below are total job separations, 4,059,000, which is a monthly increase of 226,000 or 5.9%. The term separation means you're out of a job through a layoff, quitting or retirement. Notice how separations is almost equal to the number of hires, 4,070,000. Seems the revolving door has come to working America, although not quite the same as the one in Washington D.C.
The number of quits or voluntary job separations is becoming dangerously close to the number of fires. Want a choice of employers? Doesn't seem to be much of an option today. Quits were 49% of the total separations whereas layoffs and fires were 44% in May.
Below are quits minus discharges and layoffs. What this graph shows is how people do not have a choice in jobs, the number of people being forced out of their job is more equaling the number who plain quit, which implies little choice and those who have a job are hanging on for dear life.
The JOLTS takes a random sampling of 16,000 businesses and derives their numbers from that. The survey also uses the CES, or current employment statistics, not the household survey as their base benchmark, although ratios are coming from the household survey, which gives the tally of unemployed.
The BLS was kind enough to make a credible Beveridge Curve graph, reprinted below. The Beveridge curve shows the official unemployment rate vs. the job openings rate. If you see a bunch of data points to the far right, that's bad, it means there is long term unemployment and not enough jobs. Look at how we're stuck to the right and moving right. The green, representing the 2009 time period, shows how fast we went to the right and the purple, which is 2010, 2011, means we are stuck there. This means there are no jobs! This graph shows working America is in big trouble and considering how the June unemployment report is much worse, don't expect things to get better.
For the JOLTS report, the BLS creates some fairly useful graphs, some of which were reprinted here, and they have oodles of additional information in their databases, broken down by occupational area. The Saint Louis Federal Reserve also had loads of graphing tools for JOLTS. Below is a reprint of the BLS bubble graph, and the first thing to note is how health and educational employment dwarfs manufacturing. For economies of scale, we really need to see that manufacturing bubble grow and grow, it's about 11% of the total economy which is not good for a host of reasons.
Also, bear in mind professional and technical services is notorious to import workers on foreign guest worker Visas, displacing Americans. Employers also quite often put out fictional job openings, demanding perfect skill matches to the point no one on the globe has that experience.
To put these ratios into perspective, there were 4.8 million job openings in March 2007 and believe this or not, the low point of job openings was in July 2009.
* is defined as the official unemployed plus people who are in part-time jobs for economic reasons plus the marginally attached. The marginally attached,, are officially not part of the civilian labor force, , and also not seasonally adjusted. The above graph was created by applying this formula: