The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey has been released by the Labor Department. The report, commonly known as JOLTS, has a few month lag to it, so the January 2018 data was just put out. What it shows is that there were a record number of job openings as we start 2018, and companies currently have 6.3 million job openings. This is a record high.
As we have reported on over the last few years, the job market has been very strong. There have been on average a couple hundred thousand jobs created in this country each and every month going back a few years now. That strength over the last few years brought the unemployment rate down to 4.1% as of March 2018, and that is a 17 year low.
Even though the jobless rate is down to the low four percent range, the demand for workers has not abated. In fact, the two can be correlated as with millions of people going back to work over these last several years, employers are having trouble filling positions. So the job openings build up, and now as of January 2018 they stand at 6.3 million.
There are positions in all fields, with IT and health care being the two biggest. It is estimated that the number of IT openings in January 2018 was 17% higher than it was one year ago. Health care, which has been strong for over a decade now, is still seeking more workers. But really, at the end of the day, almost every company is hiring.
More opportunities for vulnerable and unskilled people
We have reported on how the disabled, ex-prisoners, and others who were maybe not “high” on employer hiring lists in the past are now re-entering the workforce. This latest JOLTS report will continue to be good news for those groups.
Right or wrong, when the job market is weak, companies do not go after people with a criminal history. Or the disabled may find it more challenging to get a job that they can handle with their disability, or senior citizens seeking to re-enter the workforce may struggle to get the training they need on the latest technology. With a 4.1% unemployment rate, and 6.3 million open positions out there, companies are more willing to take a chance. They may train the applicant more, actively recruit them, and find a way to use a disabled person talents. Or give someone over the age of 55 a chance.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover survey comes out each month, and the Department of Labor publishes it. For anyone who is looking for insight into the job market it can be a valuable tool. Whether you are a job seeker, or investor, the data can be telling.