JOLTS and jobless claims: the labor market remains a strong positive

JOLTS and jobless claims: the labor market remains a strong positive

 – by New Deal democrat

The message from the JOLTS report for December yesterday and jobless claims for last week today is that the labor market remains the strongest sector of the economy, with plenty of unfilled job openings, and almost no layoffs.

Initial jobless claims last week declined -3,000 to 183,000, and the 4 week moving average declined -5,750 to 191,750. Both of these are close to their multi-decade lows from last March. Continuing claims also declined -11,000 to 1,655,000:

There is no danger of any imminent recession signal so long as claims remain lower YoY, which has been the case for the past few weeks:

One caution: there was relatively little seasonal hiring in November and December for the Holidays, so fewer layoffs in January makes sense. This is probably the last week for that comparison.

Meanwhile, yesterday most of the metrics in the JOLTS report for December were positive, with an increase in job openings and hires, with a very small decline in quits:

Layoffs and discharges did increase to their highest level since March 2021 with the exception of one month:

Overall the JOLTS report showed a moderating, but still positive labor market, and the weekly jobless claims report shows that it is still the case that very few people are getting laid off.

In tomorrow’s jobs report for January, I’ll be looking for signs in manufacturing and construction employment of weakening in those leading sectors, as well as whether short term unemployment is rising in any significant way, and whether the trend of decelerating gains has continued.

November JOLTS report consistent with a continued “hot” labor market, Angry Bear, New Deal democrat