There were two themes that persisted in November's U.S. job openings and labor turnover survey (JOLTS) released on Friday — the stubborn quits rate and the consistent decline in the number of job openings.
The big picture: Job openings fell by 561,000 to 6.8 million, the Labor Department said, the biggest drop since August 2015. That pushed the number of job openings to the lowest level since February 2018.
- The number of job openings in the U.S. peaked in November 2018 and has fallen almost every month since, with the pace of the decline picking up steam toward the end of the year.
On the other side: After rising near a record high in July and August, touching 2.4%, the quits rate has fallen back and again looks stuck at 2.3%. The percentage of people who willingly leave a job is a positive sign of economic momentum and confidence.
- The quits rate stayed at 2.3% from June 2018 to June 2019, the longest streak on record.
- It hit 2.5% in January 2001 and has not been able to reach that number since.