Job Openings Vs. The Coronavirus


Today one of my favorite economic data lines had one of the most impressive reports in a while, which shouldn’t surprise people with the recent job data we had. However, once again, this BC, before Coronavirus.

Job openings increased to 7,000,000, making it the 23rd straight month of more openings than unemployed workers. The previous data was also revised higher.

From BLS:

The number of job openings rose to 7.0 million (+411,000) on the last business day of January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.6 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent.

People had freaked out for no reason out about Job opening last month even though the data line was still healthy. Job openings got to 6,210,000, and that was supposed to be a terrible data line.  I have stressed for a long time now, let openings get below hires before you get all crazy bearish on us. In a traditional economic downturn, I would start to get mindful of this data mine if the 3-month average was below 6,210,000.  However, due to the velocity of the economic decline that we will see as social distancing protocols are in place, we can expect an acceleration of jobless claims to rise. JOLTS in time will pick this up. The data lags a bit, so it will be some time before we see the full impact of the illness. The 3-month job average gain was running at an impressive 243,000 clip before this Devil infected the world. Jobless claims were heading down before this virus infected our country.

Jobless Claims Vs. The Coronavirus

All this is about to change for the worse. However, we are going to put up one hell of a fight against this virus. Our country, our families, friends all Americans will put up a massive battle to try to weather the storm until the sun shines again, and we are allowed to get socially close with people.

As you can see below, the moving average should go down dramatically with the headline number tied to the dots. When we defeat this virus and get back to the Before Coronavirus economic data lines, don’t forget what I said above. As long as openings are above hiring, we are good.

From Doug Short:


Logan Mohtashami is a financial writer and blogger covering the U.S. economy with a specialization in the housing market. Logan Mohtashami is a senior loan officer at AMC Lending Group, which has been providing mortgage services for California residents since 1987. Logan also tracks all economic data daily on his Facebook page and is a contributor for HousingWire.