The number of job openings and those who quit increased in the first three months of the year, pointing to a healthy demand for labor despite the subsequent disappointing employment report for April, according to government data released on Tuesday.
There were more than 8.1 million U.S. job openings in March, a 20% increase over the number of openings reported in November, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Those increases were a decisive break above the 2018-20 downtrend in employment opportunities that came late in an economic cycle and afflicted the economy going into the pandemic.
JOLTS data lags other labor statistics by a month and Tuesday’s data did not take into account the slowdown in job creation in April as indicated by the recent nonfarm payrolls data, which showed that far fewer jobs were created in April than forecast.
Even so, JOLTS data indicates that employers are looking for workers even as supply remains an issue.
The presence of increased employment opportunities coincides with the reduction of involuntary job losses and created the environment for employees to look for other work during the first quarter.
Layoffs in March were 1.5 million, which is 30% lower than last November, while 3.5 million employees were confident enough to quit their jobs, a 6% increase.
We expect those trends to continue as vaccine coverage is extended to younger people both in the United States and among trading partners in the developed economies.
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