BLS: Job Openings increased to 5.4 Million in May

From the BLS: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

The number of hires increased by 2.4 million to a series high of 6.5 million in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was the largest monthly increase of hires since the series began. Total separations decreased by 5.8 million to 4.1 million, the single largest decrease since the series began. Within separations, the quits rate rose to 1.6 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate fell to 1.4 percent. Job openings increased to 5.4 million on the last business day of May. These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.
emphasis added

The following graph shows job openings (yellow line), hires (dark blue), Layoff, Discharges and other (red column), and Quits (light blue column) from the JOLTS.

This series started in December 2000.

Note: The difference between JOLTS hires and separations is similar to the CES (payroll survey) net jobs headline numbers. This report is for May, the most recent employment report was for June.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Click on graph for larger image.

Note that hires (dark blue) and total separations (red and light blue columns stacked) are usually pretty close each month. This is a measure of labor market turnover.  When the blue line is above the two stacked columns, the economy is adding net jobs – when it is below the columns, the economy is losing jobs.

Jobs openings increased in May to 5.397 million from 4.996 million in April.

The number of job openings (yellow) were down 26% year-over-year.

Quits were down 41% year-over-year. These are voluntary separations. (see light blue columns at bottom of graph for trend for “quits”).

Job openings increased in May, but were still down sharply YoY.