The May JOLTS Report

Job openings declined by half a million, but 3 of 4 key indicators—hiring, quits, and layoffs—improved, suggesting that the labor market remains robust

Today’s JOLTS report points to a robust and resilient labor market with 40% more job openings, 21% fewer monthly layoffs and discharges, and 15% more employee-initiated quits (most for better jobs) than before the pandemic. 

Particularly in industries such as accommodation and food services, and so-called other services, workers have gained tremendous leverage since the pandemic and continue to hold onto those gains. 

With 53% fewer layoffs and discharges taking place each month in a sector known as “other services” (which encompasses businesses such as nail salons and laundry services), and 37% fewer in accommodation and food services, low-wage workers in America continue to enjoy substantially greater job security than before Covid. 

An all-time record high number of job openings in state and local governments suggests that there will be plenty more catch-up hiring in the coming months in sectors where employment levels remain below their pre-pandemic levels. 

The information sector, however, remains a notable weak spot, with 6% more layoffs and discharges, and 17% fewer quits, than before the pandemic, indicating substantially lower employee leverage in tech and the media. 

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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