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 February 2020. 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.
Two months prior to social distancing measures, the quit rate remained steady at 2.3%, reflecting confidence about the labor market before the unexpected decline in economic activity.
The vacancy yield reflected a tight labor market with more job openings than hires taking place for the month of February.
February was the last month of low unemployment at a rate of 3.5%. Before March’s increase to 4.4%, there was fewer than one unemployed worker per available job opening.
The Beveridge Curve reflected an expansionary labor market before heading into the economic contraction necessary to address the coronavirus public health crisis.