No Need To “Bring Back the Jobs” — And Quote of the Day

This morning’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for December (1 million+ more job openings than there are folks looking for work), once again tells us that, contrary to popular political opinion, the U.S. labor market is in no way hurting from the strategic movement of some production to the world’s lower-cost labor markets.

Frankly, I’m forever amazed at how folks will subscribe to, recite even, the talking points of their political party, without so much as a glimpse at the actual data.

Oh, and by the way, the lamenting over the mirage that the U.S. economy (and its labor market) has been a net loser due to trade and labor offshoring is a weapon both political parties (see quote at the bottom) love to wield with force. Despite its huge departure from long-term reality, it seems to really work! 

United States : JOLTS 

Released On 2/12/2019 10:00:00 AM For Dec, 2018
Prior Prior Revised Consensus Consensus Range Actual
Job Openings 6.888 M 7.116 M 6.900 M 6.900 M to 6.900 M 7.335 M


Job openings continue to accelerate much faster than hiring, up 3.1 percent in December to a 7.335
million level that easily exceeds Econoday’s consensus range. Hiring is also on a sharp climb but is
lagging, up 1.6 percent in the month to 5.907 million.

The gap between openings and hires is now 1.428 million, a new record and up from 1.304 million
in November. And the gap is likewise high between openings and those who were actively looking
for work, at 1.041 million and next only in the record book to November’s 1.098 million.

Year-on-year comparisons further underscore the dislocation with openings up 29.4 percent vs only
a 7.1 percent gain for hires.

Given how difficult it is for employees to fill openings, the number of layoffs & discharges in the month
fell 3.2 percent to 1.697 million. In contrast, the number of employees who quit rose 1.0 percent to 3.482
million in what hints at worker mobility and the pull from higher paying rivals. But year-on-year the rise in
quits is still moderate at 4.3 percent with layoffs & discharges subdued at 2.5 percent.

Growth in new jobs has been outmatching growth in the labor market which is a classic formula for a
breakout in wage inflation, yet something that has mysteriously yet to appear. There are already lots
of red signals in this report and perhaps the most important one will be if and when quits start gaining
more significant traction.

“There are many corporations who have turned
their backs on the American worker, who
have said, if I can make another nickel in profit
by going to China and shutting down in the
United States of America, that’s what I will do.

I will do my best to transform our trade policy
and take on these corporations who want to
invest in low-income countries around the world
rather than in the United States of America.”

–Bernie Sanders, Source: MSNBC Democratic
primary debate in New Hampshire , Feb 4, 2016

Sound familiar? 


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