The job market remains volatile with massive disruption and job mobility, but it’s a bit less than it was in early 2022. Retail has only returned to its old normal.

Written by Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

At every news conference following the Fed’s rate-raising meetings, President Powell discussed a tight labor market: the imbalance between rising demand for labor and a narrow supply of labor. Some of the data points that are commonly cited today have been released. Two of the most important ones – employment opportunities and layoffs – have been tightened further. The others are still very narrow.

This is based on what 21,000 companies have said about how many vacancies they have, how many they have actually hired, how many have been laid off, how many have quit, etc.

Job opportunities increased by 437,000, to 10.7 million seasonally adjusted, up 51% from September 2019. Unadjusted seasonally, it rose by 306,000 to 10.7 million, according to the Job Opportunity and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment opportunities increased in all major sectors except wholesale trade, government (mostly education), and manufacturing. But even in manufacturing, the number of vacant slots, although declining, remained huge – 84% than it was three years ago, which is slightly less than before.

Job opportunities declined somewhat in the previous month, and there were hopes that they would follow a lower path to show that demand for labor may be waning. But this did not happen, and instead, the number of vacancies moved deeper into the astronomical region.

Layoffs and layoffs decreased From already low levels to even lower levels, near record lows in late 2021. Employers reported that they laid off 1.33 million people in September, down from 1.49 million in August, and down 33% from September 2019.

Small-scale layoffs, and soon most people were rehired.

There were a lot of stories in the news about layoffs at famous or notorious companies, including in the most speculative companies that went public with huge fanfare through a SPAC merger or IPO, whose shares then exploded.

But they were mostly small-scale layoffs in the dozens or hundreds, and a few times a few thousand people. Among the large, profitable companies, there have been layoffs in some departments, while other departments are still hiring. This includes big technology. But it also includes companies like Ford, which have been making purchases in their ICE division while hiring manually in their EV division.

Most of the laid-off people found new jobs quickly, given the huge number of job opportunities available in most industries. Many people had already got a new job waiting for the time they lost their old job.

We see this confirmed by the actual number of people who have applied for unemployment insurance through state unemployment offices, which is reported weekly by the US Department of Labor. Last Thursday, the number of initial unemployment insurance claims, at 217,000, was in the same low range as it has been all year and below almost all previous lows.

This confirms that most people who have been laid off find work too quickly or already have a new job prepared that they have not even applied for unemployment compensation.

For the job market to soften significantly, we must see the number of jobless claims rise above the 300,000 mark.

Voluntary ‘take off’ decreased From August, but it was still higher than in July, and remained in the astronomical zone, a sign of massive disruption to work and job-hopping.

At 4.06 million, the number of workers who left their jobs voluntarily was still up 18% from levels already high in September 2019. But declines from the peak suggest there is less confidence among employees that they might improve. job, or that the job offer they have is actually a better job, so the job hopping is a bit less than it was earlier this year.

The number of new hires has decreased It reached 6.08 million people in September, but it was still higher than in any month before the pandemic. Recruitment is still hampered by difficulties in being able to hire people away from other employers.

And employers may now be less daring to offer higher wages to attract workers than in previous months, which may be another sign of a slight lull in a fiery labor market.

Most of the 1.33 million people who were laid off and most of the 4.06 million people who “quit” became part of the 6.08 million people employed by other employers.

The large number of “quits” and the large number of “hires” shows that there is still a lot of turmoil and job-hopping, as workers can still balance out a tight labor market for better wages and benefits, or a better job across an industry. But here we can see that some pressures on the labor market are easing a bit.

Employment opportunities in key industry categories.

professional and business services, a large industrial category with 22.4 million employees in professional, scientific and technical services; Management of companies and institutions. Administrative and support services, waste management and treatment.

  • Job opportunities: +104.000 to 1.92 million
  • From September 2019: +53%

Information, A small category comprising about 3 million employees in web search portals, data processing, data transmission, information services, software publishing, motion pictures, sound recording, broadcasting including over the Internet and telecommunications. This is where some layoffs or layoffs have taken place on a small scale.

  • Job opportunities: +23000 to 214,000
  • From September 2019: +20%

health care and social assistance, A large class of about 21 million employees has set a new job record, amid numerous reports of persistent staff shortages:

  • Job opportunities: +115,000 to 2.10 million
  • From September 2019: +88%

Entertainment and Hospitalitywith around 16 million employees, amid numerous reports of hotels and restaurants still being understaffed:

  • Employment Opportunities: +234,000 to 1.61 million
  • From September 2019: +63%

retail trade, With about 16 million employees. This sector has now been normalized in terms of employment opportunities.

  • Employment Opportunities: +3,000 to 795,000
  • From September 2019: +7%

education – As shown by state and local government job vacancies, mostly in education amidst an ongoing teacher shortage:

  • Job opportunities: -23000 to 877000
  • From September 2019: +40%

manufacturing, With about 13 million employees:

  • Employment Opportunities: -40,000 to 806,000
  • From September 2019: +84%.

Building, With nearly 8 million employees, in all types of construction, from single-family homes to power plants:

  • Available job opportunities: +36000 to 422000, the third highest percentage ever, after only March and April 2022
  • Since September 2019: +27%

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