The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows the steepest decline ever in job openings.

From Jan to Dec 2019, job openings declined by 1.2 million. 938,000 were in the last two months.

That data is from the the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released this morning.

Job Openings

On the last business day of December, the job openings level fell to 6.4 million (-364,000), and the job openings rate decreased to 4.0 percent. Over the year, the job openings level declined by 14.9 percent. Over the month, the number of job openings decreased for total private (-332,000) and was little changed for government. The largest decreases for job openings were in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-88,000), real estate and rental and leasing (-34,000), and educational services (-34,000).


The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in December. The hires rate was little changed at 3.9 percent. The hires level increased in accommodation and food services (+69,000).


In December, the number of total separations was little changed at 5.7 million and the rate was little changed at 3.8 percent. The number of total separations decreased in retail trade (-118,000) but increased in other services (+57,000). Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee.


The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million and the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. Quits decreased in retail trade (-111,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-20,000).

Layoffs and Discharges

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in December at 1.9 million and the rate was unchanged at 1.2 percent. Layoffs and discharges increased in other services (+61,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (+47,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-15,000) and federal government (-3,000).

Year-Over-Year Changes

What's Going On?

I have alway been sceptical of reported "openings".

I propose that many openings are just to put government pressure on allowing more H-1B visa entrants to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Regardless, the plunge is extraordinary in the last two months and year-over-year.

In the past year, the number of opening year-over-year has gone from +22.0% to -14.9%.

Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers.

Analysis feed

FXStreet Trading Signals now available!

Access to real-time signals, community and guidance now!

Latest Analysis

Latest Forex Analysis

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD: Growth concerns to keep weighing on the sentiment

The EUR/USD pair closed a second consecutive week unchanged around 1.1840, as the dollar got to appreciate ahead of the close on upbeat US data combined with risk-off. Sluggish global economic growth to keep weighing on the market’s sentiment.


GBP/USD: Brexit deal and coronavirus second wave leading the way

The GBP/USD pair stalled its weekly recovery on Friday, ending the day in the red at around 1.2915. Mild hopes related to a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU provided modest support to Sterling earlier in the week.


Gold: Next week's key macroeconomic events to keep an eye on

The troy ounce of the precious metal closed the week modestly higher at $1,950 but struggled to make a decisive move in either direction. Following its September policy meeting, the Federal Reserve kept its policy rate unchanged as ...

Gold News

It was the best of times, It was the worst of times

Economic reports from most of the major economies show the pace of the recovery has slowed.  In the same way, the recovery began before the end of the  Q2, the loss of economic momentum was seen as early as July in some series and August in others.

Read more

After yesterday's JMMC meeting WTI settles near $40 per barrel

WTI has been through a rollercoaster this week. The liquid gold has been in a downtrend leading into the OPEC+ JMMC meeting and then reversed the whole move. At the meeting the group agreed to extend the compensation period for overproduction till the end of December. 

Oil News

Forex Majors