The September JOLTS

Published on Nov 12, 2021

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Clare Coffey

The September JOLTS

September JOLTS: In an Employee’s Economy, Quits Continue to Rise

It’s that time again: a new September JOLTS release

In this month’s edition of the federal government’s JOLTS job openings report,  we saw job opening rates dip slightly, although they’re still at a two-year high. There’s no sign of an end to the recent boom in quits, either.

(A quick refresher: JOLTS stands for Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and captures the month two months prior to its release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In other words, the November report covers September 2021.)


In an Employee’s Economy, Quits Continue to Rise

The big news of the  morning is that for the second month in a row, quits (the number of workers who resigned their jobs) reached a new all-time high of 4.4 million and rate of 3.0%.

While quits continue to climb, job openings are at an all time high.

Together, these two data points make it clear that  we are truly in an employee’s economy. The rate of unemployed workers to job openings reached a new low for the past two years, with 74 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings. 

That doesn’t mean that all options are good though. The largest increase in quits (up 56k, a whopping 82%) was in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry, traditionally jobs with lower wages and higher exposure to Covid.


Job Openings Remain High Overall

Despite job openings declining slightly for the second month in a row, down to 10.4 million on the last business day of September, they are still much higher than we’ve seen in the past.

By industry, the largest increases in job openings occurred in health care and social assistance (+141k), wholesale trade (+51k) and information (+51k.

Hires and separations were mostly unchanged at 6.5 million and 6.2 million respectively.

Notably, within separations, the quits rate increased to a new series high of 3.0% and layoffs/discharges constant at 0.9%. 

Postings Show No End to Supply Chain Woes

Turning to Emsi Burning Glass’ proprietary postings data, we see continued evidence of labor shortages in logistics, with a 36% increase in Transportation and Warehousing postings between September and October, the highest of any industry.  The next largest increases in postings were in Information at 29% and Finance and Insurance at 24% and top employers were Amazon, Deloitte and Salesforce.

The 36% increase in Transportation and Warehousing postings is good news for anyone trying to find a job fast. But combined with the 12% increase in quits between August and September reported by JOLTS, it means that our supply side difficulties are not going anywhere.


That’s all for our September JOLTS analysis.  We’ll see you here next month.