JOLTS Shows 3.1 Unemployed per Job Opening in February 2013

The BLS February JOLTS report, or Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows there are 3.1 official unemployed per job opening.  Job openings increased 8.7% from January to a total of 3,925,000.  Actual hires, on the other hand, increased 2.8% to 4.418 million.  Real hiring has only increased 22% from June 2009.  Job openings are still below pre-recession levels of 4.7 million.  Job openings have increased 80% from July 2009.  While the increase in job opportunities is great, every month it is the same thing.  There is never enough actual hiring.

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.  The official unemployed ranked 12.03 million in February 2013.


job openings per official unemployed February 2013


If one takes the official broader definition of unemployment, or U-6, the ratio becomes 5.8* 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 February 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 rate:   2.8%
  • hires rate:  3.3%
  • separations rate:   3.1%

    • fires & layoffs rate:   1.2%
    • quits rate:  1.7%
    • other rate:  0.2%

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 22%.  This is simply terrible and the most important indicator in our view for employers are clearly refusing to increase hiring, across the board and thus not recover from our jobs crisis.  Businesses can say there are job openings, but if they do not hire an American and fill it, what's the point?




Below are total job separations, currently at 4.202 million and an increase of 0.7% 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 1.615 million, a 6.5% increase from last month.  Below is a graph of just layoffs and firings.   Don't expect this to last for government workers as the sequester takes effect, even though 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 1.9 million overall yearly net job gain and this is a 100,000 decrease from what was reported last month.   Annual revisions from the employment statistics are incorporated into this report.. There are over 12 million unemployed.  Needless to say 1.9 million annual job growth isn't making much of a dent in dropping the unemployed levels beyond people giving up looking for work.

Over the 12 months ending in February 2013, hires totaled 52.0 million and separations totaled 50.1 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.9 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

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 2.26 million for February, the same as 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 bad, even though the jobs slaughter of 2009 where people were laid off and fired in mass is over.



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 February 2013 unemployment rate was 7.7%.  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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I've seen the same job openings for 4+ years - the SAME JOBS

There are many companies, big mostly, but smaller ones as well, that are posting the same exact jobs. They are interviewing for those jobs, choose not to fill them, and then repost them. This goes along with the gaming of the "no qualified Americans," "we need a tax break to hire," etc. game. has forums on this scam, and the job boards are filled with the same jobs year-after-year. Yes, not months, but year-after-year. Headhunters also post ads repeatedly every single day on job boards. They all must have resumes from everyone on the Earth by now but simply can't fill that spot. USAJobs also posts and cancels jobs and reposts them. Many, many sites rail against USAJobs - must be a psychological warfare test on the US population to see what they'll endure for the hope of work.

It's impossible to figure out what a real opening is, what job is designated for a relative or internal candidate, and what job might be filled. And if a job is to be filled, they will never say when, it could be months from now or cancelled after the 4th interview.
These job openings are as reliable as the unemployment rate. Just like the feds are making the inflation rate laughable. It's the USSR-like statistics, the stats are meant to serve a purpose and that is to create the illusion of growth. Only puts more psychological pressure and social pressure on those increasing #s of people looking for jobs because they are then blamed when the MSM and people confront them with these fake openings. But the newly unemployed will see an opening and apply. Those with more experience know full well the same job is on the site for years or is meant to keep HR busy so they don't get fired and keep budgets from getting cut.

Why I point to actual hires

Tech is notorious for putting out phony job openings. On Craigslist you can see some companies posting the same ad, every other day, for years and they obviously have no intention of hiring anyone. I think that is so they can claim they "cannot find an American" and hire foreign guest workers.

That said, I have no idea what kind of jobs people on this site are looking for, say big corporate career jobs or what skill levels, areas and so on. I am fairly certain glassdoor has real jobs, straight, typical corporate interviews, etc. Some companies are insane enough to only look at who adds their resume to their own database. Those are the companies that seem to only hire new college grads and they rarely use headhunters. More and more I see the real jobs being posted to specialty lists, areas, i.e. start up sites, sourceforge, particular github projects, open source sites such as Drupal and so on. I'll try to remember to post links to some of these sites as I see them, although we're an economics site so most readers are not techies.

I don't know if anything on linkedin is real, I find it fairly useless myself and generally watch out for automated job rejection via a database over the most ridiculous things.

Bottom line, openings looks like it is recovering while hires are flat line. The press, many economists focus on JOLTS job opening statistics and I think that is wrong due to all of the offshore outsourcing, use of foreign guest workers, the phony ads, the use of job ads as PR, etc. that goes on.

The MSM ignore the flat line hire rates of JOLTS.

MIT study debunks skills shortage myth

Recent article from Manufacturing and Technology News. Says many of the same things I have been saying on this issue for some time

if there were a true shortage there would be upward pressure on wages - not happening

if skills were in demand - schools teaching these skills enrollments would swell - not happening

employers would increase internal training programs - not happening

read articles here

Maybe they are just looking in the wrong places<G>

Check out this site -


"By 2018 we'll see a 24% increase in STEM jobs"

"There are 23,200 unfilled jobs as a result of the "jobs skills gap". This gap is growing and will be 45,000 by 2017".

However, I go here:

and it says there are only 31,597 Jobs Available Today at the top of the page. And when I look through them most of them obviously don't require much more in the way of skills than most people coule pick up on the job. If there really was a job, that is.

Well, maybe the "23,200 unfilled" jobs are invisible jobs.

Or, perhaps, people will become educated in these new pursuits enough to realize they are being manipulated for other's profit...

unemployment for engineers - 6.5%

That's obscenely high for engineers. When one gets into degreed positions the unemployment rate should be around 2.2% and overall professional unemployment rates are double, triple what they should be, but this is really bad. Article here.

I'll try to crank some occupational numbers soon to get to the story. The large aggregate figures which we overview monthly don't give a clear picture on what is happening in reality with jobs by occupation.

Law schools are graduating classes with 20% employed

Yes, that's right, 20% EMPLOYED (and not necessarily in the law - so baristas count). Today I felt like doing the law sector, but it's the same in so many other fields. Pharmacy schools still promoting jobs, nursing, etc. despite reality. And the ABA and law schools are doing nothing to stop the pumping out of more grads and the creation of more law schools. These people are still lying about the job prospects because it's all about the $, $, loans, and $.
Before the Internet and blogs, people had no inside information or truth, but now, the Internet and blogs are the key to stopping the corruption and lies in industry after industry. Law, medicine, finance, engineering, the public needs to be informed and look out for themselves.

By the way, did you see the Fed leaking its minutes yesterday to Congressional staffers and lobbyists so they had plenty of time to trade on the info.? ZH and more papers picking it up in detail. The US elite and govt. are such clown shows at this point. It's all about connections and influence and corruption. It's so painful to watch because so many smart people with killer work ethics will continue to be ignored and destroyed while the greedy, corrupt, and psychopathic continue to go wild, unaccountable.

law school 6 figure student loan debt 2

That's right and it comes along with 6 figure student loan debt. Imagine going to medical school and running into a problem and not completing the program. Talk about debt.

Used to be this crap was punished, now it's everywhere

Just a symptom. Remember simple things like bait-and-switch, price gouging, lying, bullshitting on resumes or lying to applicants or employees or to officials or the public, self-promotion, stepping on others, backstabbing, etc. was frowned on? Grabbing everything in sight was seen as vile? Consumerism was in check? I want those days back.
Now it's all acceptable and looked on as necessary to profit at everyone else's expense. That works if one or two people do it, but when people in power do it and anyone that doesn't finds it harder to survive across entire societies, good times are sure to come. Society, meet disaster. There's a reason people thought and wrote about social mores, social fabric, social contracts, good governance, ethics, self-control and concern. Apparently those words all meant nothing.

Obama meeting banksters at WH again about jobs? Farce continues

Any doubt who owns and runs this country? But Obama's meeting them about jobs, so it's all good. Tragic. I think there might be a homeless unemployed person also in attendance, but probably not, the homeless and unemployed tens of millions don't carry too much cash or weight in the "Republic." Now banksters that can break all the laws in the world and be promised non-prosecution along with our tax money to fund their bonuses and private compounds, that's who matters to the government.

meeting probably not about jobs

Think that's PR to cover up Obama is meeting with the CEOs of TBTF banks, also the enablers and motivators of offshore outsourcing, (global free movement of capital).

Jobs for Obama, friends, family, Swiss bankers

See, now it is about jobs, just jobs for those connected to the boardrooms and politicians. Jobs for private bankers, Lear Jet crews, megayacht captains, etc. now and for everyone after they leave office. Have to line up jobs and favors for the next two or three generations while they are in seats of "public service."
This is also why JP Morgan, Goldman, Citi, etc. constantly post job "openings" they never fill with Americans. Then they and politicians like Obama can say, "Look, Dimon posted 10,000 jobs every year." Unfortunately reality is those jobs are being filled in the Philippines. But hey, don't ask questions or think, they hate that crap.

Dimon and crew are idiots, look to Paine et al. for wisdom

When Dimon and other douches are looked to for $ and advice, this place is doomed. Apparently for the truly corrupt and dimwitted, $ = brains. We could ask Dimon and Blankfein and the rest of the clown posse to lecture us all on anything, anything, from mathematics to political science to psychology or engineering. And you know what they'd come up with? NOTHING. Because $ = $, that's it. Some people are fabulously wealthy and stone cold idiots. Some are dirt poor and absolute geniuses. They are not correlated. And tragically, some of the wisest, most honest men struggled to ever escape poverty because they were ripped off or they just didn't care that much about $. Banksters dictating our lives? Sure, because these morons' body of work is right up there with Voltaire and Socrates and Jefferson.

When banksters get free money from the Fed, get inside information from the Fed and politicians, and are also given immunity from prosecution for breaking the law (and profit from those crimes) and yet are still able to lose billions in trades, well, that pretty much tells the entire world they are IDIOTS besides being criminals. Let me go check out the literature and work records of TBTF at the Library of Congress ton confirm this fact.

Bill O' targeting 1 professor, not covering banksters + WH rule

Awesome, the MSM is so transparent. Bill O', working for alleged phone hacker/briber/murder investigation hampering Murdoch, didn't cover the WH meeting with banksters. Didn't catch MSNBC, but I'm sure they covered it up too. Bill O' targeted some California professor calling him a Commie or something like he's Satan destroying our country. Never mind the fact that Dems and Republicans colluding with $ to destroy us together. Yup, divide and conquer. Muddy the waters. Target some small fry guy in some locale that really has no power. Some mall Santa that secretly works in a "war against Christmas" or some local judge or some professor. Can't go after any CEO, any big donors, that would threaten a teleprompter reader's job and mansion. That might require thought and honor. Whatever they do, they can't let the public know that both parties serve the same $ masters - that might lead to a French-type incident from 200+ years ago. Obama and Romney, who cares, we're f*cked either way, big $ loves them all, they just hate us. Go on reading the teleprompters, we'll wait.