Employment opportunities in the private sector remain high although they declined in October

The latest survey of vacancies and employment turnover from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the total number of job vacancies in the economy fell to 10.334 million in October, down from 10.687 million in September.

The number of open jobs in the private sector fell to 9.412 million in October, down from 9.627 million in September. October was the fifth decline in the past seven months since the March high (see chart one).

The total job vacancies rate, divided by the sum of jobs plus vacancies, fell to 6.3 percent in October from 6.5 percent in September, while the private sector employment rate fell to 6.7 percent from 6.9 percent in the previous month (see) first chart). The October result for the private sector was 1.0 percentage points lower than the March peak.

The industries with the highest opening opportunities are education and healthcare (2.172 million), professional and business services (1.794 million), commerce, transportation, and utilities (1.644 million), and leisure and hospitality (1.578 million). The highest opening rates were in entertainment and hospitality (9.0 percent), education and healthcare (8.1 percent), and professional and business services (7.4 percent).

The number of private sector quits decreased for the second consecutive month in October, with 3.792 million quits from 3.819 million in September (see second chart). Trade, transportation and utilities topped with 904,000 quits, followed by entertainment and hospitality with 869,000 left, and professional and commercial services with 655,000.

The smoking cessation rate in the private sector stood at 2.9 percent in October. The smoking cessation rate in the private sector is the lowest since March 2021 and 0.5 percentage points below the record 3.4% in November 2021 (see chart two).

Private sector layoffs and layoffs increased in the latest month, rising to 1.314 million, compared to 1.247 million in September. The trend in layoffs and layoffs may be higher since it reached 1.183 million in December 2021 (see chart three). The rate of layoffs and layoffs in the private sector held steady in October, coming in at 1.0 percent, above a low of 0.9 percent in December 2021 (see chart three).

The number of job seekers (the unemployed plus those who are not in the workforce but want a job) per opening rose slightly in October, rising to 1,095 from 1,083 in September. Before the lockdown recession, the low was 1.409 in October 2019 (see chart 4).

Today’s job vacancies data indicates that the labor market remained resilient through October. While the low number of workers available per opening means the job market remains tight, some deterioration on the margins is a warning sign. Caution is required.

Robert Hughes

Bob Hughes

Robert Hughes joined AIER in 2013 after more than 25 years in financial and economic markets research on Wall Street. Bob was previously Head of Global Equity Strategy for Brown Brothers Harriman, where he developed an equity investment strategy that combined top-down macro analysis with bullish fundamentals.

Prior to BBH, Bob was chief equity analyst at State Street Global Markets, chief economic analyst at Prudential Equity Group and chief economist and financial markets analyst at Citicorp Investment Services. Bob holds an MA in Economics from Fordham University and a BA in Business Administration from Lehigh University.

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