Opinion

Ben Walsh

from Data Dive:

America’s job market: still not good enough

Ben Walsh
Mar 11, 2014 21:23 UTC

On Tuesday morning, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTs) data showed that the rate of hiring, turnover, and the number of open jobs was basically flat.

A little explanation: The hiring rate is the number of peopled hired as a percent of total employment. The JOLTs report also tracks the quits rate, which is the number of people who have voluntarily quit as a percent of total employment. Taken together, the quit rate and the hire rate represent a good proxy for the level of choice workers, particularly the already employed, have in the job market.

This chart shows that the level of choice in the job market within the workforce plummeted during the Great Recession. It has gradually improved over the last four years, but is still at right around 2008 levels. And this is likely still not fully representative of the job market: because it tracks quits, and there is a bias to hire the already employed, this chart more accurately reflects job choice among the employed than the unemployed.

Job growth is showing much the same pattern. Looking at the data since late 2011, the NYT's Neil Irwin concluded that the "jobs recovery in the United States is astonishingly consistent, astonishingly resilient, and astonishingly underwhelming", holding steady at an annual rate of just over 2 million:

 

 

 

from Data Dive:

Fewer Americans are getting laid off, but not enough are getting hired

Ben Walsh
Nov 21, 2013 15:25 UTC

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits is at a two-month low, data released by the Labor Department this morning shows.  From the report:

In the week ending November 16, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 323,000, a decrease of 21,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 344,000. The 4-week moving average was 338,500, a decrease of 6,750 from the previous week's revised average of 345,250.

Reuters writes that the new data suggests "some strengthening of labor market conditions". However, "while layoffs have slowed significantly to normal levels, there has not been a rapid acceleration in hiring as domestic demand remains lukewarm".

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