Thursday, September 08, 2011

July Job Openings Highest in Three Years

The BLS reported yesterday that there were 3,228,000 job openings in July, an increase of 1.9% from June, and 13.3% from July last year, to reach the highest level since August 2008, almost three years (see chart above).  Private sector job openings, at 2,900,000 in July, were also the highest since August 2008, and 15.3% higher than a year earlier.    

From the Associated Press:

"Companies advertised the most job openings in three years, a hopeful sign after the worst month for hiring in nearly a year. The Labor Department said Wednesday that employers posted 3.2 million jobs in July, up from 3.17 million in June. That is the largest number of openings since August 2008. Typically, it takes anywhere from one to three months to fill an opening. The biggest gains in openings were reported in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities.

There's heavy competition for each job. Nearly 14 million people were out of work in July. So roughly 4.3 unemployed workers were competing for each opening. That's a slight improvement from June, when the ratio was 4.45. In a healthy economy, the ratio is closed to 2 to 1.

Total openings are about 1.1 million higher than they were in July 2009, one month after the recession officially ended. But they are still far below the 4.4 million openings that existed in December 2007, when the recession began."


At 9/08/2011 8:17 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

and yet jobless claims were back up to 414k this AM and actual job growth was ZERO last month.

this series has not evidenced any predictive power that i can see in the last several years.

i think it's a sign of a skills mismatch and of visa restrictions that prevent us companies from hiring those will the skills they need.

i can see how one would want to try to use this series as a measure of future job creation, but for how long must it diverge from actual hiring before we begin to suspect that somehting is wrong?

At 9/08/2011 8:27 AM, Blogger morganovich said...


it's worth considering some magnitudes.

if weekly jobless claims are 414k, then that's 1.7mn a month getting fired.

that's more than half the job openings in the whole country just in people fired in the last 30 days.

it would be interesting to see a chart of this job openings data net of trailing 4 week jobless claims.

the number of americans employed has increased by a paltry 360k in from a year ago while population is up 1.8mm.

the labor participation rate has dropped from an already low 64.7% to 64% and the employment/population ratio has dropped in the last 12 months as well.

what are we to make of this divergence in openings, which have been up in that whole period, and participation, which keeps dropping?

At 9/08/2011 8:50 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

"July Job Openings Highest in Three Years"

Which coincides with the time the labor participation rate took a nosedive.

In a healthy economy, the ratio is close to 2 to 1

I'd disagree and suggest that somewhere 1:1 and 2:1 is healthy.

Much more than 2:1 suggests a long-term problem. That said, it seems like the lowering of the ratio simply a case of burying the long-term unemployed (while demonizing them as if they never worked).

At 9/08/2011 10:16 AM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

This from a guy who worked at an engineering firm:

"Job openings are utterly meaningless. We used to call them cattle calls - we'd place announcements in advance of new contracts just to see who was available. If we got lucky maybe we'd hire one engineer or scientist. Job openings are not only meaningless - they are easily manipulated."

At 9/08/2011 11:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Again we're seeing just how useless the BLS numbers are...

From Zer0Hedge: Initial Claims Surge Again, Far Worse Than Consensus As Prior Revised Higher As Usual

The BLS playbook in full force today: miss expectations of 405K - check, by printing at 414K; another weekly print over 400K - check (21 out of 22 weeks over 400K), revise prior week's higher - check (from 409K to 412K). Unfortunately, unlike two weeks ago when another blowout miss was reported, this time there is no striking phone carrier to blame it to. And as usual, those coming off their extended claims cliff keeps increasing, with 78K people dropping off EUCs and Extended claims: nearly 2 million people have been cut off from any extended government benefits in the past year. Overall, another weekly data set that confirms that next month's NFP number will most certainly not be positive... or zero.

At 9/08/2011 2:38 PM, Blogger juandos said...

You know Professor Mark there's a program that I really don't watch much on the Discovery Channel called, "Dirty Jobs" with some guy named Mike Rowe...

I caught the tail end of it yesterday where Rowe was explaining how a guy who was refurbishing a sewer line was now a specialist since very few people do it anymore...

The long and the short of it seems to be that we as a nation are letting many jobs go vacant because the work force lacks the job skills to perform them...

What I wonder is if the overreach fed & state regulations have put the final nail into the coffin of the apprentice programs for the most part?

Anectdotally I have a couple friends that own metal shops that do custom work, one on cars and one on housing...

They both had to go to Europe over the last couple of years and recruit machinists who knew the job and knew how to work with fractions...

It was relatively speaking a horrendous expense for both of them but they couldn't find people locally, state wide, or nationally that had the skill sets necessary...

At 9/09/2011 11:14 AM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...


This reminds me of an article I read about a machine shop, in Cleveland, that had 100 openings, but could hardly fill any of them because most applicants didn't have the necessary 8th grade math skills.

At 9/09/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger Marko said...

The highest in three years, and still sucky.

At 9/09/2011 2:37 PM, Blogger Marko said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/09/2011 2:40 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Right Juandos - this is why I support increased legal immigration. We have to raise those caps!

For many years HR professionals have been warning us that a labor shortage was coming - it is here. Both skilled and unskilled.

Increased legal immigration would have all kinds of benefits. I wish people would look past the populist "immigrants take jobs" nonsense. Import labor or export jobs, I always say.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home