November JOLTS Report Shows the Great Resignation Continues
The November JOLTS release this morning showed that the “Great Resignation” has not shown any indication of slowing, particularly in industries with lower pay and higher COVID exposure rates. And since the survey reflects conditions before the start of the Omicron wave, it’s not yet clear whether or how the most recent spike will affect these trends. But it is clear that the number of unemployed workers to job openings continues to fall.
In November, the number of quits increased to a series high of 4.5 million (+370,000) with the quits rate increasing to 3.0 percent, matching the series high in September. For private employers specifically, the quit rate reached a historic high of 3.4%.
Although some of the increase might be attributable to the natural end-of-year churn (people often get new jobs for the new year), data from previous years shows that the increase has more to do with the tight labor market than any seasonal shift.
Looking at the industry data, the largest increases in quits were in accommodation and food services (+159,000); professional and business services (+68,000); health care and social assistance (+52,000); and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+33,000). Accommodation and food services also saw job openings decrease by 261,000, even as quits climbed.
The rate of unemployed workers to job openings continued to reach new lows. With only 65 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings, it’s unclear where employers will be able to find workers to fill all of their positions.
Openings continued to follow previous trends with not much change. There were 10.6 million openings on the last day of November, a slight decrease from the previous month but still very high overall.
The largest increase in openings was in the finance and insurance industry with an additional 83,000 openings.
Finally, the number of hires and separations both increased slightly from 6.5 million to 6.7 million and 5.9 million to 6.3 million respectively, with separations mainly being driven by the increase in quits.
There are also indications that big businesses are doing better in this great reshuffling of workers. Job openings decreased in businesses with 10 to 49 employees, while hiring increased in businesses with 5,000 employees or more.
For the most part, the November JOLTS adds few new wrinkles to patterns that are by now well established–climbing quits and job openings that remain high overall. Meanwhile, the biggest gains and losses are subject to a blue-collar vs. white collar divide, with finance and insurance leading new openings and accomodation and food service leading quits.