CHART OF THE WEEK
The employment report confirms the recent slowdown in job creation. Just 467,000 jobs have been created in the last three months compared with 700,000 over the same period last year. That said, the rest of the report indicates resilience, with a rise in the average number of hours worked and a stable unemployment rate that remains at an all-time low of 3.7%. Recent weekly jobless claims are also at very low levels.
The Job Openings and Labour Turnover Survey (JOLTS) provides further insight into labour market trends, with the latest figures confirming that the situation has not visibly altered as of end-July.
The survey lags the employment report by a month, but measures the number of advertised job vacancies along with the number of hires, quits and layoffs. This week’s chart shows that monthly payroll additions have not lost any steam and that layoffs remain low. The number of quits has risen, but this is a sign of relatively buoyant worker confidence levels.
Compared with statistics such as the weekly jobless claims, JOLTS data lag the economic cycle’s turning points and it would be unwise to draw too positive a conclusion. However, the new low in jobless claims numbers since April is reassuring as to whether recessionary risks will materialize, and the JOLTS data confirm encouraging trends.
The opinion expressed above is dated September 12th, 2019, and liable to change.
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