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Expand chart
Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of job openings kept rising in October — though there’s still a whopping shortage for the number of unemployed, according to the Job Openings and Layover Turnover survey (JOLTS) out Wednesday.

The numbers: 6.7 million open jobs, but roughly 10.9 million people considered unemployed.

Why it matters: It’s a more granular look at the labor market improvement before the brakes were tapped in November. It also illustrates how far away the job market is from full recovery.

  • JOLTS is dated, but it offers more clues about the job market than the payrolls report.

What they're saying: "The improvement is good news but it is not good enough for the unemployed," Conrad DeQuadros, an economist at Brean Capital, wrote in a client note.

  • Some sectors are faring worse. Leisure and hospitality, for instance, has 0.2 job openings per unemployed person, DeQuadros notes.

Details:

  • Layoffs and discharges rose by 243,000. But that includes the 90,000+ temporary Census workers let go.
  • The hiring rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 4.1% — historically high, but a slowdown from the 5.4% rate when the economy reopened.
  • The quit rate held at 2.2%, the lowest since March 2018. (When this rises it’s a sign workers feel good enough about the labor market to quit their job.)

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 8, 2021 - Economy & Business

Labor market is moving in the wrong direction

Data: U.S. Department of Labor via FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

More than 1 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, even as new applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program fell to their lowest level since March.

State of play: The $900 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress at the end of December extended the PUA program through at least March but also added a new verification process that forces applicants to reapply in order to reduce fraud.

Biden headed to the Hill as Democrats struggle to reach deal on spending bills

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday morning will meet with the House Democratic Caucus on Capitol Hill to provide an update about his Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure deal, according to a White House official.

Driving the news: The meeting comes as Democrats struggle to reach a deal on the spending bills. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN on Sunday that Democrats were planning to reach an agreement on the infrastructure package this week, before Biden's departure to Europe, which is slated for later on Thursday.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
43 mins ago - Economy & Business

Why it's so hard to tax wealth

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wealth tax that wasn't a wealth tax isn't even a tax, now. The Democrats had a meticulously constructed 107-page proposal to pay for a large chunk of their spending plans with a tax on billionaires, but it died ignobly on Wednesday, the same day it was unveiled.

Why it matters: The dream of a wealth tax will never die as it so neatly generates revenue by reducing inequality. But there are three main reasons why that dream is likely to remain just a dream for the foreseeable future.

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