One month after the August Jolts report showed an unexplained surge in job openings (following the dire plunge in July when nearly 1 million job openings were gone), things are reverting back to normal because after the “freak” spike in job openings in the last month of the summer which was downward revised to 407K (after the 890K drop in July), in September the trendline resumed its grind lower as another 353K job openings were gone, bringing the total to just 10.334 million, down from the record 11.855 million hit in March of 2022.
According to the BLS, job openings decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-101,000); nondurable goods manufacturing (-95,000); and federal government (-61,000). The number of job openings increased in other services (+76,000) and in finance and insurance (+70,000).
Coming at a time when payroll growth is shrinking fast, if one believes this morning‘s ADP print which indicated that a whopping 100,000 manufacturing jobs were lost including over 100,000 information, financial and professional workers…
… but offset by the usual hiring spree of waiters and bartenders, the drop in job openings meant that there is still 4.275 million more job openings than there are unemployed workers.
The September update also means that there were 1.71 job openings for every unemployed worker, down from 1.86 last month. That said, this number has a ways to drop to revert to its precovid levels around around 1.20.
This is important because as Fed mouthpiece Nick Timiraos wrote last month, “The Fed would like to see the ratio of vacancies to unemployed workers decline, and it ticked up in September to 1.86 from 1.68.” Well, it ticked right back down now.
While job openings reversed the recent bounce, hiring continued to slide and in September the BLS reported that total hires dipped to 6.012 million which was the lowest since January 2021.
The trend here is clear: lower and to the right. According to the BLS.
And more bad news: the number of quits – or the “take this job and shove it” indicator – continued to deteriorate, and in Sept dropped by 34K to 4,026MM, the second lowest since June 2021!
So will the combination of a clearly disastrous ADP print coupled with another ugly JOLTS report be enough to convince Powell to ease off the break? For the answer, join us at 1:30pm when Powell speaks at Brookings and either sends stocks plunging… or soaring.