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US August JOLTS job openings 10.439m vs 10.925m expected

Highlights of the job openings and labor turnover survey

  • Prior was 10.934m (revised to 11.098m)
  • Hires 4.3m vs 4.6m prior
  • Separations 4.1m vs 3.9m prior
  • Quits 2.9m vs 2.7m prior
  • Layoffs and discharges 0.9m vs 1.0m prior

This breaks a run of 7 months of improvement. The question today was whether we would hit 11 million and we did but not in the way that was hoped. The revision to July makes that a new record but with a decent fall in August. That drop underscores the slowdown in the August jobs report related to delta.

More broadly, I no longer believe in the value of the headline in this report. There’s been a structural, technology-driven change in hiring. Companies now spam job postings and are always hiring at the low end of the wage scale, even if it means letting someone go making more. There’s a new reliance on automated, algorithmic resume sorting that’s created a glut of both and skews the picture. The quits rate is now the most valuable part of this survey and it shows some improvement.

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