Every month the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics releases data on hiring, firing, and other labor market flows from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, better known as JOLTS. Today, the BLS released the latest data for November 2017. This report doesn’t get as much attention as the monthly Employment Situation Report, but it contains useful information about the state of the U.S. labor market. Below are a few key graphs using data from the report.
The quits rate remains flat, staying at 2.2 percent in November. Job-hopping is a key way workers get raises, so wage growth may remain tepid if more employees don’t quit for better or different jobs.
The ratio of unemployed workers to vacant jobs—an important measure of tightness in the labor market— remained near all-time lows at 1.1 workers per vacancy. If the ratio falls below 1, then there would be more job openings than unemployed workers.
The vacancy yield fell in November a continuation of the downward trend during the current economic recovery. How much lower the ratio of hires to vacancies can fall is an important question in the debate about how tight the labor market can get.
Another month of data and the return of the Beveridge Curve to its pre-recession trend continues. This is a potentially encouraging sign that the unemployment rate and the unemployment-to-vacancy ratio could continue to decline.