Layoffs and Discharges Reach Highest Level Since 2010

Job openings fall, layoffs rise

Layoffs and discharges have risen to their highest level since July 2010, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, job openings have sunk yet again to 7.0 million–the lowest level in 18 months. Year-over-year, job openings have now fallen by 5% and layoffs have risen by 8%–bad news for job seekers and workers. The data come from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (or JOLTS) report. 

Slipping job openings and rising layoffs could be a sign that some U.S. companies cut back on recruiting and let go of workers in September, amid slowing global growth and an expansion in tariffs. 

Hiring remains strong in certain industries and regions

On the bright side, there are still 1.3 million more job openings than unemployed workers–a major reason the employment rate for prime working-age Americans has continued to rise. And although job openings have fallen 5% year-over-year, the number of monthly new hires has actually risen 5% over the same time. 

Job openings hit new record highs in transportation, warehousing, and utilities and in state and local government education. Meanwhile, the number of people quitting their jobs in the western part of the country hit a new record of 867,000–a sign that workers remain confident that they will be able to find new jobs. 

ZipRecruiter data suggest the slide in job openings may soon turn around

Job openings on ZipRecruiter fell 4.9% in September, but jumped 11% in October, driven by growth in service-providing industries that are thriving on rising consumer spending, such as restaurants and hotels. After a slow start, holiday season hiring is now in full swing and on track to match or surpass that from last year. For those reasons, we predict a stronger October JOLTS report release next month–not a protracted slowdown. 

Written by

Julia Pollak is Chief Economist at ZipRecruiter. She leads ZipRecruiter's economic research team, which provides insights and analysis on current labor market trends and the future of work.

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