Coming on the heels of the disappointing monthly jobs report that showed 160,000 jobs were added in April, on Tuesday the Labor Department issues its JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) for March.
JOLTS shows labor market trends improving long-term since the end of the Great Recession. For instance, in spring 2013, the ratio of job openings to job seekers was 3-to-1. It’s now 1.4-to-1. And the rate at which people voluntarily quit their current jobs to look for something better is back up to pre-recession levels, said economist Andrew Chamberlain at research firm Glassdoor.
“If you’re in health care, or professional services—which includes all those Silicon Valley tech jobs—the labor market looks terrific, and people in those fields are jumping ship,” Chamberlain said.
Economist Elise Gould at the progressive Economic Policy Institute said that while it is true that the number of job openings has risen substantially, there are still a lot of unemployed job seekers in the labor market. And many companies have been reluctant to actually hire.
“They may not really be actively looking for employees to fill them,” Gould said. “Or they may think, ‘Oh, I’ll see if somebody might be interested at this relatively low wage I’m willing to offer, but I’m not willing to fill it if I have to pay a lot more.’”
Andrew Chamberlain is confident that as the job market keeps improving, the quits rate will continue to rise, and employers will have to sweeten the pot by offering better pay and benefits to attract and retain the workers they need.