Jobs Looking for People
By John Canally, LPL Financial
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A number of key reports due out this week will tell market participants how many jobs were added in March 2012, in what industries the jobs were added, how much workers were paid and why workers were unemployed. If the consensus is correct, the private sector economy will add more than 200,000 jobs for the fourth consecutive month, and the nation's unemployment rate will stay at 8.3%.
Each month, financial markets and the media turn the monthly jobs report into the most closely watched economic indicator on the calendar. A few days later, the same government agency -- The Bureau of Labor Statistics within the Department of Labor -- will release a report called the "job openings and labor turnover," known commonly as the JOLTS report, with little fanfare from the financial markets or the financial media.
The JOLTS report does not get a lot of attention, mainly because it is dated (the next report due is for February), and by then, the market already has plenty of information on the labor market in March. This information includes a reading on initial claims for unemployment insurance -- a closely watched weekly metric on the labor market -- for the week ending April 7.
However, the JOLTS data provides more insight into the inner workings of the labor market than the monthly employment report does. One key takeaway from the JOLTS data is that small and medium-sized businesses in the south are looking for highly skilled workers.
TABLE 1: Sectors With the Most Open Jobs
TABLE 2: Smaller Firms Have 75% of Open Jobs
TABLE 3: Energy Sector May Be Driving Job Openings in the South
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
JOLTS provides data on:
On the surface, the data reveals just how dynamic the U.S. labor market is, demonstrating how the economy creates (and destroys) tens of millions of jobs a year. It can also help us answer questions we receive quite often in the LPL Financial Research Department like: Where are all the jobs coming from? What do those jobs pay? What kind of companies are hiring, and where are the jobs located?
At the end of January 2012 (the latest data available), there were 3.1 million job openings, up from 2.1 million open jobs at the start of the economic recovery in June 2009