December JOLTS: Ratio of Workers to Openings Hits Record Low
By Rucha Vankudre, Kyle Rudman, and Scott Bittle
The December JOLTS release this morning showed that we closed out 2021 with no relief to the labor shortages that have been plaguing employers. In fact, the ratio of unemployed workers to openings fell to its lowest point ever.
The Job Openings Labor and Labor Turnover Survey is the federal government’s primary tool for tracking hiring, resignations, and layoffs in the economy.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported job openings increased slightly to 10.9 million from 10.8 million in November, just slightly below the series high of 11.1 million in July. This combined with the continuing fall in unemployment means that we are now down to only 58 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings.
Looking at where the openings are, Accommodation and Food Services had the largest increase from November (up 133,000), followed by Information (up 40,000), and Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities (up 34,000). Job openings decreased in Finance and Insurance (down 89,000) and in Wholesale Trade (down 48,000).
Quits, or the number who voluntarily left their jobs, fell slightly from their series high of 4.5 million last month to 4.3 million. That’s still at much higher levels than we’ve seen in the past few years.
Finally, employers are hanging onto the workers they have. Reported layoffs reached a series low of 0.8%.
Overall, the statistics show the labor market remains tight, and remains challenging for employers trying to fill jobs. For practical strategies employers can use to compete for talent, read the Emsi Burning Glass 2022 Talent Playbook.