What's really happening with employment rates
An interesting article by Spencer Jakab appeared in The Wall Street Journal on 10-July. This article discussed the significance of the monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLT) report which is issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. This is not the more commonly quoted Labor Department unemployment rate report which offers a single headline number. The JOLT report tracks the increase or decrease in job openings and also turnover statistics including "Quits" which, simply stated, refers to the number of people who felt confident enough to leave one job for another.
As Spencer Jakab pointed out in his article, "Look back to the second half of 2007. From June to December, there was a modest rise in the number of unemployed that was hard to call a trend. At the same time, Jolts reports showed job openings falling markedly from nearly 4.7 million to below 4.3 million. Put the two together and there was a one-fifth rise in the number of unemployed per available job. A recession that Wall Street economists wouldn't recognize until months later was about to begin."
Then, add turnover data to the significance of the job openings trend. Generally, in a strong or strengthening job market more people should change jobs given they are less inclined to feel as though they should just hunker down and ride out a bad or worsening job market. A Bird In The Hand…
The April JOLT report was troubling because it reversed the trend established in the January, February, and March reports in which the number of job openings increased incrementally. Over this same period the Quits level similarly increased. Then, in April, both levels declined. Fortunately, the May JOLT report issued today reflects increases, albeit nominal, in both the Job Opening and Quit Levels. Interestingly, this data tracks to recent business activity across our service portfolio.
Treeline is a sales focused executive search firm that has worked with thousands of sales candidates and hiring managers over the past eleven years. Treeline is also the creator of DADOMATCH.com which is a social hiring technology and service. Like so many other businesses tied to the labor market, we have looked for new ways to project and interpret job market trends. This trend data has the potential to improve forecasting.