January JOLTS Report: Quits Down, Layoffs Up, But Not by Much

March 9, 2023 by Lightcast Press Office

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(Boston, MA) March 8, 2023 - The job market slowed slightly in January, with job openings declining to 10.8 million from 11.2 million in December. In addition, quits are declining and layoffs are increasing–all signs that the tight labor market is easing, but probably not enough to change the Federal Reserve’s plans for fighting inflation.

“The hope is that we are not going to completely obliterate the labor market in order to reduce the inflation rate. This report shows we’re moving in the right direction but we’re not there yet,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Layla O’Kane.

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

Key Takeaways:

1.  People are slightly less likely to switch jobs voluntarily, and slightly more likely to be let go. Quits decreased to 207,000 to 3.9 million in January, while layoffs increased by 241,000 to 1.7 million. This could indicate that workers are staying put, and maybe a little uncertain of the future economy as layoffs are gaining steam.  

“Some of this intense period of churning is coming to an end and that’s good news for the Fed.  So far the layoffs have mostly been in the professional sector, which includes tech, and we aren’t seeing layoffs ricochet into other corners of the labor market,” said Lightcast Senior Economist Layla O’Kane.

2. The largest decreases in job openings were in construction (-240,000), as well as accommodation and food services (-204,000), which could be a sign that these hard-pressed sectors are having an easier time finding workers.

“These sectors have been hit particularly hard by the overall labor shortage. A decline in openings could mean they’re finding more workers and filling more jobs,” said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.

3. This report raises the stakes for Friday’s Employment Situation Report, which along with next week’s inflation numbers will provide important data points for the Federal Reserve. The central bank’s board will meet later this month to discuss raising interest rates again.

“The Fed is trying to show that they are data driven and that they're going to act according to what they see in the data. Today’s report confirms that the labor market is cooling but isn’t quite there yet. We are still in a very tight labor market, " said Lightcast Chief Economist Bledi Taska.


monthly job openings as of January 2023
Job openings per unemployed person as of January 2023
Separations by type (Quits/Layoffs/Other) for January 2023 and December and November 2022
Total quits by industry January 2023


Lightcast provides trusted global labor market data, analytics, and expert guidance that empowers communities, corporations, and learning providers to make informed decisions and navigate the increasingly complex world of work. With a database of more than one billion job postings and career profiles, our team provides best-in-class customer service with robust data, clear analysis, and expert guidance on skills, jobs, and opportunities.

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Lightcast is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, and India. The company is backed by global private equity leader KKR. For more, visit www.lightcast.io.

Press contact: Rachael Wilson

Phone: (541) 227-9437

Email: rachael.wilson@lightcast.io