Out Now: Episode 415: Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the Clean Energy Sector With Dr. Janell Hills

Why Was the May Jobs Report So Bad? Job Postings Went Down

Scroll down to read more!

Why Was the May Jobs Report So Bad? Job Postings Went Down

Scroll down to read more!

Table of Contents

Why Was the May Jobs Report So Bad? Job Postings Went Down

Yesterday the Bureau of Labour Statistics released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for May and the news shouldn’t come as a surprise: job openings declined sharply to 5.5 million in May.

The initial BLS Jobs Report for May, released in June, reported that the American economy gained only 38,000 new jobs in May. Last week, along with releasing much a stronger June Jobs Report, the BLS also downgraded the May report. While the so far unadjusted numbers for June include 287,000 jobs added to the economy. the May numbers sunk down to 11,000.

The latest from the BLS gives a few more pieces to the May Jobs Report puzzle.

JOLTS tracks exactly what the name suggests, the number of Americans leaving and quitting jobs and the the number of job openings posted by employers. The May results show that while the number of job openings went down, and therefore fewer people were being hired, the actual rates of hiring and separation remained about the same. Too, that big change in job openings was only seen in the private sector. The rate of government job openings stayed on trend.

Job openings went down 345,000 to 5.5 million, which works out to a May job openings rate 3.7%. The below chart, which tracks job openings from May of 2013 to May of 2016 shows a market decline in the openings rate, but also shows a rate which is well above 2013 and 2014 levels.

blsjolts
From the BLS JOLTS.

Separations and hires, though held steady. The total separations in May were 5 million, which works out to a rate of 3.4%. Total hires were 5 million, which works out to a rate of 3.5%. Obviously these numbers cancel each other out — American workers were being hired and fired or quitting at about the same rate in May, but there were far few openings for new jobs. This decrease was concentrated in the South and Midwest. The biggest decreases in openings were:

-104,000 Wholesale Trade

-98,000 “Other” services

-53,000 Real estate, rental and leasing

From the BLS JOLTS report.
From the BLS JOLTS.

As you can see, periods of flat hiring aren’t uncommon or necessarily unhealthy for the economy. Even flat or slow overall job growth isn’t necessarily bad. But since the post-recession recovery began, the monthly BLS report has been interpreted as a crucial sign of how the US economy is faring, and May’s reports stoked fears of recession — and it did it so well (with the help of an unsteady post-Brexist market, shrinking profits, tighter credit and slowing auto sales) that even June’s jobs report didn’t quell those fears.

Slowing job growth could be a sign of recession — or it could be a sign of declining slack in the labour market and an economy getting closer to full employment. I’m not convinced that either of those things is happening. There are plenty of indicators that low skill, high school educated Americans continue to be underemployed and undercut by credentialism that’s pushed them out of well-paying jobs, and into part time and casual work. Too, the signs pointing to recession are decidedly mixed, and I’d caution against interpreting slower growth rates as portents of the sky being scheduled to fall. Right now, the picture is too murky.

So while the JOLTS doesn’t give us all the answers, it can tell us this much: a big part of why the economy added so few jobs in May was simply that employers were posting far fewer jobs. Now, if we can figure out why job openings went down so much in May — not April, not June and so far signs point to not July — we’ll have a better understanding of what’s really going on in the job market. Keep a close eye on the earnings reports that are coming out this week for hints about just that.

Did you like this post? Share it!

Comments are closed.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Ads help make Workology resources free for everyone. We respect your privacy. To see our Privacy Policy click here.

Recommended Posts

supporting caregivers: the sandwich generation at work

Supporting Caregivers: The ‘Sandwich Generation’ at Work

I’ve been told my whole life to enjoy being young and to grow old gracefully. To enjoy and soak in every moment, especially the...

Recruiting Reimagined: How Specialized Software Strengthens Hiring in 2024

Explore how specialized software is transforming recruitment strategies in 2024. We discuss the benefits of innovative tools for hiring....

How to Reduce Stress at Work (and Life) with Meditation

We can’t always limit stress or the amount of it in our lives, but we can arm ourselves with resources and tools to help...
Best HR Certification prep books

Best HR Certification Prep Books for SHRM and HRCI

Looking for additional reading to support your study prep for HRCI or SHRM? We've got a comprehensive list for you right here....
Your Global HR Certification: A Professional's Guide

Your Global HR Certification: A Professional’s Guide

Elevate your HR career with our guide to Global HR Certification. Explore benefits, prep tips, and vital resources for exam success!...

Resources for Session Attendees of Digitizing Talent

Resources for conference session attendees of Digitizing Talent: Creative Strategies for the Digital Recruiting Age....

Ways to Set up Self-Paced Studies in Higher Education

In the world of higher education, the winds of change are blowing. More than ever, students are looking for learning options that fit their...

HR Podcast Episode 9: 2024 Changes to HRCI and SHRM Exams

In this episode of the HR Certification Podcast, we are reviewing the latest changes in SHRM and HRCI exams....

Checkout Our Products

Ads help make Workology resources free for everyone. We respect your privacy. To see our Privacy Policy click here.

More From Workology

HR Podcast Episode 9: 2024 Changes to HRCI and SHRM Exams

In this episode of the HR Certification Podcast, we are reviewing the latest changes in SHRM and HRCI exams.

Ways to Set up Self-Paced Studies in Higher Education

Click on read more to open this post on our blog.

Resources for Session Attendees of Digitizing Talent

Resources for conference session attendees of Digitizing Talent: Creative Strategies for the Digital Recruiting Age.
Your Global HR Certification: A Professional's Guide

Your Global HR Certification: A Professional’s Guide

Elevate your HR career with our guide to Global HR Certification. Explore benefits, prep tips, and vital resources for exam success!