by Robert Hughes
The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Vacancies and Job Turnover Survey shows that the total number of vacancies in the economy rose to 10.717 million in September, up from 10.280 million in August.
The number of open positions in the private sector rose to 9.668 million in September, up from 9.24 billion in August. September was the second gain in the last six months since hitting a record high in March (see first chart).
The total vacancy rate, vacancies divided by the sum of jobs plus vacancies, increased to 6.5 percent in September from 6.3 percent in August, while the private sector vacancy rate increased to 6, 9 percent from 6.6 percent in the previous month (see first chart). The September result for the private sector is 0.8 percentage points below the March high.
The industries with the largest openings are education and health (2,306 million, 138,000 more in the month), professional and business services (1,916 million, 104,000 more), leisure and hospitality (1,631 million, 234,000 more) and commerce, transport, and public services (1,585 million, up to 9,000). The highest open rates were in leisure and hospitality (9.3%, up 1.2 percentage points), education and health care (8.6%, up 0.5 percentage points), and professional and business services (7 .9%, 0.4 percentage points more).
The number of resignations from the private sector decreased in September, reaching 3.820 million, down from 3.965 million in August (see the second chart). Commerce, transport and public services led with 908,000 departures, followed by leisure and hospitality with 844,000 departures, and professional and business services with 729,000.
The private sector resignation rate fell to 2.9 percent in September from 3.0 percent the previous month. The private sector resignation rate is the lowest since March 2021 and is 0.5 percentage point below the all-time high of 3.4% in November 2021 (see second chart).
Layoffs and layoffs from the private sector also declined in the latest month, falling to 1.247 million, down from 1.405 million in August. However, the trend in layoffs and layoffs may be higher since it hit a low of 1.183 million in December 2021 (see third chart). The private sector layoffs and layoffs rate also fell in September, reaching 1.0 percent, but still above the low of 0.9 percent in December 2021 (see third chart).
The number of job seekers (the unemployed plus those not in the labor force but who want a job) per vacancy decreased slightly in September, falling to 1,083 from 1,113 in August. Before the lockdown recession, the low was 1,409 in October 2019 (see fourth chart).
Today’s job openings data suggests the labor market remained resilient through September. Although the low number of available workers per vacancy implies that the labor market remains tight, some deterioration in the margin is a warning sign. Caution is warranted.
Publisher’s note: The bullet points in this article were chosen by the editors of Seeking Alpha.