According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released January 4th, 2022), on the last business day of November 2021, the number of job openings decreased to 10.6 million (0.4 million less than the previous month). More interestingly, while the hire rate remained the same, voluntary quit rate reached a previous all-time high at a quit rate of 3%. With a total of 4.3 million voluntary quits, the last time we saw a quit rate near this was two months prior in September of 2021.
Quits increased in several industries but most notably in accommodation and food services, health care and social assistance, and transportation, warehousing, and utilities. The most quits occurred in the Northeast, South, and Midwest regions of the United States. What this tells us is that job seekers are leaving job opportunities if their demands are not met.
While job openings decreased to 10.6 million, the unemployment rate also continues to decrease, leaving a large gap between open jobs and currently unemployed persons. The unemployment rate in December declined by 0.3 percent to 3.9 percent with a total of 6.3 million unemployed, leaving a gap of 4.3 million more available jobs than unemployed persons.
Over the last year, as employers continue to combat the competitive job market, we have seen consistent pay increases across the board at a 4.7% increase rate. In December of 2021, average hourly earnings for all employees increased by 19 cents to $31.31. The average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees also rose by 18 cents to $26.61.
The average workweek for all employees remained relatively unchanged at 34.7 hours. However, the average workweek for production and non-supervisory employees edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours.
Over the past few months, professional and business services have seen an upward trend in growth. With 43,000 jobs added in December, this trend is looking positive for this industry. The most notable gains occurred in computer systems and design services with 10,000 jobs added, closely followed by architectural and engineering services with 9,000 jobs added.
Other notable changes occurred in some industries as follows:
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Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022a, January). JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – NOVEMBER 2021. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2022b, January). THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — DECEMBER 20