November 10, 2020

The  Labor Department reported that job openings rose 1.3% in September to 6,436 thousand after having declined 5.2% in August and an increase of 11.6% in July.   As the economic expansion gathers momentum the number of job openings will continue to climb and the unemployment rate will continue to decline.

As shown in the chart below, there are currently 1.8 unemployed workers for every available job.  Not a great time to be looking for a job but it will continue to improve as the fall progresses.  Prior to the recession this rate was steady at about 0.8.

The Labor Department also provides information on hires each month.  Hires fell 1.5% in September to 5,871 thousand after having risen by 1.9% in August.  Thus, the rate of hiring slipped from  4.2 to 4.1.  The rate of job openings was 4.3.  Thus, job openings were 4.9% higher than hires which suggests that employment should continue to climb in the months ahead.  Prior to the recession job openings were  15-20% higher than hires which was a reflection of the very tight labor market that existed at that time.

.Stephen Slifer

NumberNomics

Charleston, SC