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First Cut: JOLTS data ‘little changed’ in April from March, historic strength maintained

The BLS said the data on Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) was “little changed” in April from March. There were generally only small shifts in levels in April and rates were essentially the same as in the prior month.

The data lags that of the Employment Situation report by one month. The JOLTS numbers were consistent with the April readings for employment, with a hint that a strong April could presage a downturn in levels for openings and hires in May. But like the payroll numbers, it may be more useful to look at April and May together when the data is next reported on Tuesday, July 9 at 10:00 ET.

Job openings were down a scant 25,000 in April to 7.449 million, and the openings rate held at 4.7% for a second month, just below the series high of 4.8%.

Hiring was up 240,000 in April to 5.937 million, a series high. The hiring rate matched historic peaks at 3.9%, and remaining in line with the narrow 3.8%-3.9% range in place since February 2018.

Separations were up slightly by 70,000 to 5.578 million in April, on trend with recent months and low in the historical context. The rate was 3.7%, where it has been for the past four months.

Net turnover — new hires minus separations — was up a very strong 359,000 as hires remain active and separations soft.

Voluntary job leavers — a subset of separations — were up 70,000 to 3.482 million in April, just below the record high of 3.483 million in January. The quits rate held at 2.3% for an 11th month in a row. Workers remain confident in switching jobs in a vibrant labor market. The Beveridge Curve depicted continued tight conditions.



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