This weekend only, get a Marketplace zip–up hoodie when you donate $8/month. Don’t wait — this offer ends at midnight Sunday!
There are some good things in the JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey). There were 4.2 million new job postings in February, 300,000 more than in January. We’re at January 2008 levels now.
But let’s have our fresh numbers with a side of pickled context shall we?
First, these are mostly low wage jobs: restaurant jobs, temp jobs, for example. This is typical of any post-recession recovery; these are the jobs that rebound first. We may not like them, but at least they’re rebounding. Second, we still have 2.5 times as many people as job postings. That means 60 percent of people looking for a job in February weren’t going to get hired no matter what they did. In this kind of environment, employers have little incentive to bid up wages.
If employers aren’t bidding up wages and there aren’t nearly enough jobs to go around, then, thirdly, people aren’t going to really feel very comfortable with their job prospects. Which is reflected in the Quits Rate – that’s the number of job quits/total employment. It’s low, at *1.9 percent and it hasn’t really changed meaningfully in three years.
Finally, job postings don’t mean job hirings. Employers appear to be taking their time filling these positions. That’s why the Hires Rate (number of hires during the entire month as a percent of total employment) is still depressed at 3.3 percent. But let’s not get all doom and gloom here. Things are improving without a doubt. They’re just doing so very slowly.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the quits and hires rates in the Labor Department’s February report. The text has been corrected.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.