There Were 3.3 Unemployed Per Job Opening in January 2013

The BLS January JOLTS report, or Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows there are 3.3 official unemployed per job opening.  Actual hires increased 1.2% to 4.247 million after last month's plunge.  Real hiring has only increased 17% from June 2009.  Job openings also recovered slightly, up by 2.2% to 3.693 million, yet are still below pre-recession levels of 4.7 million.  Job openings have increased 69.5% from July 2009.  Some in the press are claiming hiring is on a rebound.   Frankly hiring is not.   Every month it is the same thing, not enough hiring and this has been going on now for over five years.

There were 1.8 official unemployed persons per job opening at the start of the recession, December 2007.  Below is the graph of the official unemployed per job opening. Notice how flat tail the below graph is.  That's not an amazing recovery.   The official unemployed ranked 12.33 million in January 2013.


job openings per official unemployed January 2013


If one takes the official broader definition of unemployment, or U-6, the ratio becomes 6.2* unemployed people per each job opening.  The January U-6 unemployment rate was 14.3%.  Below is the graph of number of unemployed, using the broader U-6 unemployment definition, per job opening.


u-6 jolts job openings per alternative unemployment rate January 2013


We have no idea the quality of these job openings as a whole, as reported by JOLTS, or the ratio of part-time openings to full-time.  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 increased 0.1 percentage points and layoffs declined by 0.1 percentage points from last month.

  • openings rate:   2.7%
  • hires rate:  3.1%
  • separations rate:   3.0%

    • fires & layoffs rate:   1.1%
    • quits rate:  1.6%
    • other rate:  0.3%

Graphed below are raw job openings.  Job openings are still below the 4.7 to 4.3 million levels of 2007.


job openings


Since the July 2009 trough, actual hires per month have only increased 17%.  This is simply terrible and the most important indicator for employers are clearly refusing to increase hiring, across the board and thus not recover from our jobs crisis.




Below are total job separations, currently at 4.02 million and an increase of 1.0% from last month.  The term separation means you're out of a job through a firing, layoff, quitting or retirement.


jolts separations


Layoffs and firings were 1.507 million, a -4.0% decline from last month.  Below is a graph of just layoffs and firings.   This is the good news of the report, layoffs and firings are clearly way down, even below pre-recession levels.  One can see from labor flows while businesses are not slashing and burning their workforce, they also are not really adding to their payrolls.


jolts separations


Graphed below are openings separations and hires levels, so we can compare the types of labor flows.  While layoffs have declined to pre-recession levels, it is the flat line hires (blue) that is the problem, beyond not enough job openings (red) for the unemployed.  There is simply not enough hiring going on to get people back to work.  Anyone who claims a labor shortage is also easily disproved by these figures.  A labor shortage would imply more job openings than unemployed available to fill them.


jolts separations


We have an 2.0 million overall yearly net job gain and this is a 200,000 increase from what was reported last month.   Annual revisions from the employment statistics are incorporated into this report.. This may sound like better news until one realizes there are 12.33 million unemployed.  Needless to say 2 million annual job growth isn't making much of a dent in dropping the unemployed levels.

Over the 12 months ending in January 2013, hires totaled 52.0 million and separations totaled 50.0 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.0 million.

Graphed below are people who quit their jobs minus those who were fired and laid off.  The lower the bar on the below graph, the worse labor conditions are.  The number of quits were 2.218 million for January and a 4.3% increase from last month.   July 2009 saw1.8 million quits.  People quit their current jobs often to obtain better ones.  People feeling free enough to leave their current position also hasn't changed much for the year.  Additionally quit statistics are still way below pre-recession levels of 2.8 million.  People are clearly not voluntarily leaving their jobs because the job market is so bad, even though the jobs slaughter of 2009 where people were laid off and fired in mass is over.   This month's increase if a pattern would be a sign the labor market is improving and people can shed that bad boss and exploitative employer for greener employment pastures.



For the JOLTS report, the BLS creates some fairly useful graphs beyond the above and they have oodles of additional information in their databases, broken down by occupational area.  That said, one doesn't know if the openings are quality jobs from the JOLTS statistics.  The St. Louis Federal Reserve also had loads of graphing tools for JOLTS.

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 January 2013 unemployment rate was 7.9%. JOLTS includes part-time jobs and does not make a distinction between part-time, full-time openings.  A job opening reported to the survey could literally be take out the trash twice a week and be counted.  This is a shame, it would be nice to know a little more about the quality of these new opportunities.  Here are our past JOLTS overviews, unrevised.

*U-6 is defined as the official unemployed plus people who are in part-time jobs for economic reasons plus the marginally attached.  The marginally attached,M, are officially not part of the civilian labor force, CLF, and also not seasonally adjusted.  The above graph was created by the seasonally adjusted levels of the unemployed, part-time for economic reasons and the marginally attached, raw totals.  Another way to calculate this figure is:
\frac{(CLF + M) * U-6} O
O=\text {Job Openings}

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the financial press are 100% wrong on this report

Folks, I do not know what is going on with the mainstream financial press, but they are simply dead wrong on their claims the jobs market is rebounding and hiring is up and so on. It is little change as the BLS themselves state in their report text and one can see it by graphing all of the metrics (and why we do so much graphing).

It is like the financial press has gone into fairy tale land lately. There is no great job recovery going on here. At this point one has to wonder why the hype? To boost the DOW, to justify flooding the U.S. labor market with more foreign workers when we have unofficially about 23 million people needing a good job?

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They can't keep their lies straight - uncertainty vs. job growth

Don't try to figure it out, professional liars paid to say what they are told. That labor arbitrage/Fox "News" guest Honeywell CEO just said job creation ain't happening in the US, yes, because of "uncertainty" and "headwinds." Damn, who could have guessed it, as predicted repeatedly, it's that uncertainty. Election 2008, 2010, 2012, 2016, Obamacare, where the Olympics will be held 100 years from now, war in Syria, or Libya, or Mali, damn it, it's freaky the way uncertainty seems to be present in the world since it was formed billions of years ago and yet entire empires were created and fell and rose again in the face of such headwinds and uncertainty! But this CEO and others are simply facing tougher times, I'm sure of it, than any other time in recorded history - just ask them, ignore their salaries (that never go down, no matter the bullsh*t headwinds) and profits. It's a miracle he doesn't piss his pants every day waking up to go to his chauffeur-driven car to his private jet to fly to his private retreat far away from us.

So he's not hiring Americans because of that (yeah, right). But like you said, the MSM also carries this lie - jobs are here again. Manpower, that joke of a company that always claims "skills gaps" and says American workers can't be found that can tie their shoes and breathe by themselves, just claimed yet again hiring is up and it needs to find qualified workers somewhere (namely overseas). Of course any American sending a great resume to that company can expect radio silence - you are not wanted. Don't try to reconcile the two - they are lies and incompatible.

Here's all you need to know, Americans below the boardrooms won't be hired for any living wage jobs. CEOs are certain (in spite of uncertainty) to grab every dime they can from corporate coffers, ensure they and their friends make millions more while possibly destroying their companies (if that makes quarterly profits go up, okay, otherwise corporations are just piggybanks for boardrooms) and country (they ain't "American" companies, after all), and foreigners will be hired overseas or brought in because of, you know, the skills gap the media also parrots.

They lie, it's what they do, don't waste any time or energy reconciling lies - it's pointless. They are even more vehement in their lies when they are paid to parrot them and not think too much. Truth? Yeah, don't look to the media or corporate spin for any of that. One minute the TV parrot will claim jobs are here but Americans are too lazy and stupid to fill them (F THAT) and the next the very same asshat will claim there are no jobs because of this or that politician. Huh? Now that's some logic worthy of $10 million/year and an anchor's contract.

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uncertainty, "headwinds" are real

Did you see Ryan's budget? This complete mathematical nonsense is head of the budget committee and ran for GOP VP. The absolute, pure, nonsensical, "F grade" economics, upside down financial insanity coming from Congress makes our lobbyist driven President look common sense by comparison.

I don't see how businesses operate with such insanity going on. That's not to say they are not getting away with murder, but every two weeks having Congress, in particular the GOP threaten to destroy the U.S. economy with their madness is assuredly harming economic activity generally.

Not the same thing as passing corporate/lobbyist agendas through Congress that I've referring to. Those of course will also seriously harm the economy.

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Uncertainty? Compare that to not knowing how to live day-by-day

Compare the uncertainty someone feels that honestly doesn't know how they are going to feed their family or themselves day-to-day to the "uncertainty" meme we constantly hear about on TV shows from big corporate CEOs. I think Greeks lighting themselves on fire because they are so poor and desperate probably feel more uncertainty than these politicians and businessmen could ever fathom. Look at Honeywell CEO's salary, it's not up in the air, it is paid out 100%. If he was worried, wouldn't his salary be contingent on some "certainty" he's searching for? To hear him talk about uncertainty is sad, he has no concept of the meaning. People can't pay rent month-to-month, that's uncertainty that's not caused by fiscal cliff talks or EU crises, that was created by outsourcing and free trade.

People who don't know whether they should borrow $100,000 to send their kid to college for 4 years for a chemical engineering degree in 2 years or whether they should tell their kid to forget about college because it's a waste of time and money (or maybe in 4 years it won't be - that's uncertainty). Or someone that is thinking about moving across the country for a job that is a 1/100 shot, but staying in a state with no job growth is hopeless, unless something changes at some point in a year or two or three. And doing that while having a mortgage hanging over their heads. Job applicants sending out 5000 resumes at 50 over the course of 5 years. Should I retrain at my own expense for $50,000 or bank that money and wait until I qualify for Social Security so I don't die? That is the most overused word and meme of the last few years by the big wigs. Getting out of bed has always been uncertain, a war could break out tomorrow, the Sun could not rise, but life goes on despite that now. Is there a World War? Are we being invaded? No, life goes on for everyone but the people that love using these memes endlessly for their own agenda.

There's always an excuse by the CEOs and talking heads. Of course small business owners are different, but then again they don't have the lobbying power of big corp. But how long can big business use the Euro's slow, agonizing death as some excuse? Or who will win this Congressional election or that Presidential election? It's amazing anything ever got accomplished by anyone in history, all this "uncertainty" that occurs in the real world throughout history before the era of CEOs. Didn't see Churchill whining and bitching about "uncertainty." FDR? Truman? And yet we have to find jobs every day that can pay our bills despite all this "uncertainty." Do we sit there and whine on TV or blame some budget in the local state capital or in DC? Oh, sorry, can't pay my car loan - all that uncertainty. Can't pay my rent, sorry, it's the uncertainty. Don't want to look for a job, worried about the Euro's existence and the Yen's effect on my purchasing power..

Nope, it's a meme trotted out. Before 2009 or 2008, how many times did we hear "uncertainty"? It's a recent corporate PR tool/excuse meant to get what they want, if corporate taxes went straight up to 90% for the next 99 years and outsourcing was banned for 99 years, they'd be certain of the next 99 years, but they'd still blame all that "uncertainty" because they didn't like the policies. Big CEOs of big corp. like to claim they are the Masters of the Universe. Great, so make decisions like everyone else has to do, earn the $10 million, stop claiming some nonsensical fear and paralysis while being certain to fire people and collect paychecks.

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