December JOLTS Report: “Good News for Team Soft Landing”

February 2, 2023 by Lightcast Press Office

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(Boston, MA) February 1, 2023 - The job market showed surprising strength in December, with the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey showing an increase of more than 500,000 job openings (to 11 million). Quits and layoffs showed little change. With the Federal Reserve expected to announce an interest rate increase this afternoon as it tries to cool inflation, the report provides key context for the central bank’s decision. 

“A tight labor market with wage growth slowing down is good news for Team Soft Landing,” said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.

Taska and Senior Economist Layla O’Kane provided real time analysis on LinkedIn Live this morning.

Key Takeaways:

1.  The job market is still showing surprising resilience, with job openings increasing to 11 million in December from an adjusted 10.4 million in November. 

“It’s a very tight market, and I don’t expect it to change too much, and that’s partly because we’re missing a lot of people. More than 2 million people are not in the labor market because of retirement, COVID, or other reasons. It will take a lot of time to either replace those people or to  bring them back on,” said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.

2.  Layoffs remained steady in December, edging up by 1%. This shows that recent high-profile layoffs in the tech industry have not had a major impact on the broader labor market. Accommodations and food service job openings, for example, increased by 409,000. However, the slowdown in the tech sector seems to be gaining traction, with a decline of 107,000 job openings in the information sector. 

“There has been a lot of public concern about whether tech layoffs are bleeding into other areas of the job market. From what we’re seeing in this report, that isn’t the case. We’re seeing a lot of openings in the same industries where there are also a lot of layoffs, so this may be churn with people finding new jobs in their industry,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Layla O’Kane.


monthly job openings
job openings per unemployed person
Layoffs and quits over time
Hires and separations over time


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