February JOLTS Report: The Jobs Market is (Finally) Cracking – The Average Joe

    February JOLTS Report: The Jobs Market is (Finally) Cracking

    Victor Lei — Head of Research

    April 4, 2023

    April 4, 2023

    The jobs market is falling apart. But you probably already knew that with all the layoff announcements.

    Now, data from job reports are finally catching up to reflect the slowing economy.

    We’ve got some spicy jobs data (as interesting as job reports can be). February JOLTS data showed:

    • Job openings falling below 10M for the first time since May 2021.
    • In just two months, job openings fell over 8% (1.3M jobs) — the second-highest decline on record (first place goes to COVID).

    Openings were below economist estimates by all measures — but let’s rewind and see why this matters.

    2021-2022 job markets summed up

    Companies have been struggling to find workers — with too many jobs looking for too few workers. This has led to wage inflation, but that’s also improving:

    • In January, there were 1.9 job openings for every worker.
    • In February, that ratio fell to 1.67.

    Investors: The Fed is waiting for labor markets to cool (among other factors) — before they’ll stop raising interest rates.

    It’s a good start, but the current number of job openings is likely still too high for the Fed’s comfort.

    There’s another jobs report coming out this Friday — which will show the latest US unemployment rate.

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