Jolted JOLTS: Job Openings Plunge By 538,000; Biggest Drop In 42 Months

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/09/2019

Back in February, the BLS reported a dismal jobs report, when the unrevised number saw only 20K payrolls added. While the subsequent data saw a marked improvement, and an upward revision to the February number which was a cold-weather related outlier, the JOLTS survey appears to not have caught up, and the result was the ugliest job openings survey in three and a half years. Specifically, in February, the BLS reported that only 7.087 million jobs openings existed, the lowest number since March 2018, and a drop of 538,000 in one month: the biggest plunge since August 2015. Notably, the January print was revised higher to 7.625 million, effectively tied with the all time high in this series.

Ironically, just last month we said that “with the Fed positioned for an economic slowdown, the JOLTS data better turn negative fast or else Powell will soon be facing some very unpleasant questions why the Fed’s rate hikes are on pause when the number of job openings in the economy is soaring to unprecedented levels.” One month later, as if on cue, we got the most negative JOLTS data in almost 4 years.

According to the BLS, the number of job openings fell for total private (-523,000) and was little changed for government. Job openings decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-103,000), real estate and rental and leasing (-72,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-66,000). The number of job openings fell in the Northeast, South, and Midwest regions.

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