This labor market still defies any slowdown: layoffs, resignations, job offers and hires

Historically low layoffs, astronomical job offers, aggressive hiring, massive churn and job jumps: the weirdest job market ever.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Reports of large-scale labor shortages in education, healthcare, transportation (airlines, my goodness!), and other segments sit alongside reports of relatively small-scale layoffs in the segments. the most speculative in the economy – in the hugely money-losing startup, SPAC and IPO space. And there have been layoffs among mortgage lenders whose revenues plummeted as demand for refi mortgages waned and demand for buy-to-let mortgages plummeted due to soaring mortgage rates.

In July, the number of layoffs and dismissals fell a little for the second consecutive month and remained within the record range of data dating back to the year 2000. The 1.398 million layoffs in July fell by 42,000 from compared to July. last year and down 428,000, or 23.5% from July 2019, according to the Job Openings and Job Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, obtained from a survey of 21,000 employers.

The low number of layoffs confirms trends in weekly jobless claims data released last week by the Labor Department. The 243,000 initial jobless claims that were filed during this reporting week were up slightly from historic lows earlier this year.

In other words, relatively few people were laid off, and most of them found a new job quickly, or already had a new job planned when they were laid off from the old job and did not never bothered to file for unemployment.

In the past, periods of recession were preceded by unemployment claims exceeding the 350,000 mark. Initial jobless claims from the Labor Department last week:

Job vacancies are increasing again: the astronomical zone.

July job openings, unadjusted for seasonality, jumped to the second highest on record, to 12.09 million openings, just behind April’s record, up 482,000 year-on-year openings. other and up 4.45 million opens, or 61%, from July 2019.

Seasonally-adjusted job openings jumped 199,000 from June to 11.24 million openings in July, up 456,000 year-on-year and 4.1 million compared to July 2019.

This is not based on online job postings or anythingbut on JOLTS data that the Census Bureau collected from 21,000 employers (businesses and government entities) by asking about their workforce in July.

This is another sign that the labor market remains tight and that many employers are struggling to fill positions:

“Quitte” moves back a little, still very high.

The number of workers who voluntarily left their jobs in July fell for the fourth consecutive month, to 4.18 million, but was still up 15% from the already high levels of July 2019.

“Quitting” is a sign that employees already have what they think is a better job, or are convinced they can get one soon. This large number of “resignations” reflects the change of employment of workers who try to arbitrate the tight labor market to their advantage, in a context of still aggressive hiring by companies. This creates large-scale labor turnover.

But the four straight months of declines indicate that confidence in finding a better job, amid stories of layoffs and hiring freezes and the like, may be deflating a bit:

Hiring still very strong.

Private sector employers hired 7.1 million workers in July, unadjusted for seasonality, which includes the latest wave of seasonal hiring that began in May and June.

Seasonally adjusted, employers hired 5.98 million workers, down from the previous month and down 2.7% from the hiring boom in July last year. Compared to July 2019, employers hired 370,000 more workers (+8.4%).

Not all new positions have been filled, far from it. Many of these “hires” took jobs that were left behind when workers left to work elsewhere as part of massive labor turnover:

Jobs in the biggest industry categories.

Professional and business services: The number of job vacancies in July fell to 2.09 million from June, but was still up 8.0% from July last year, and, a sign of the madness of this labor market, increased by 63.1% compared to the already high levels in July 2019:

Health and social assistance: Job vacancies fell to 1.98 million in July, in the same astronomical range of 2 million since December last year. Year-over-year openings are up 15% and compared to July 2019 they’re up 65%, amid endless reports of shortages of doctors, nurses and other staff staff in health facilities.

Leisure and hospitality: Job openings were up slightly from June, reaching 1.52 million in July, up 57% from July 2019. Restaurants and hotels have made a lot of progress in staffing, after the spike in job vacancies that occurred when restaurants and hotels reopened. . Year over year – so compared to what was still the peak of reopening last year – job openings fell by 5.3%:

Retail business: Job postings jumped in July to 970,000, but retailers made progress in filling their spike in job postings that occurred when the industry reopened. Up 16% from July 2019, retail job openings are returning to normal levels:

State and local government, primarily in education: Job postings jumped to 924,000 (seasonally adjusted), just slightly below the December 2021 record, and about the same level as in January, February and April. Up 52% ​​from July 2019, amid endless reports of teacher shortages.

Manufacturing: Job postings, at 834,000 in July, remain in the astronomical zone, up 92% from July 2019, but down from the April peak:

Construction: Job postings rose to 375,000 in July, up 11% year-over-year and 17% from July 2019:

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