Janet Yellen, the Fed’s vice chair and possible successor to Ben Bernanke, loves the JOLTS report — the BLS’ batch of labour market stats due out later today.
Historically, the “Job Openings and Labour Market Survey” has not been as market moving as, say, the BLS’ employment situation report.
But if Yellen — who has cited JOLTS as a source of economic intel — ascends to the Fed throne, market watchers will keep a keen eye on the report.
(If selected, surely Larry Summers will also care about JOLTS.)
So here’s where we’re at ahead of this morning’s report.
Job openings are on the rise. Despite July’s tepid gains, companies are slowly putting more jobs on the market.
But hires have more or less flatlined. Firms haven’t been able to fill all of those new positions.
Layoffs plunged recently, but could be moving north. Some new openings, stagnant hires, but low firings? What’s going on? It could be “labour hoarding” — firms basically hanging on to the employees that made it through the rough patch. And this is actually a bigger problem than you might think. During the crisis, businesses cut labour costs as much as possible, but at a certain point they couldn’t cut anymore. Firms “hoarded,” maximizing the productivity of the labour that remained. It seems as though we could still be in that cycle, with meaningful hires yet to break through.
Quits are stagnant but have been heading up. Quitting your job is a sign of market confidence, so we’ll be on the lookout for this figure.