The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its April report for the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) today. It shows a big drop in job openings.
While some folks will no doubt make a big deal out of this report, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, there is a considerable lag in the data. We already knew that employment growth was weak in April and May, so it should not be very surprising that job openings were down in April.
The second point to keep in mind is that most of the drop is due to a March surge. While the number of openings is down by 325,000 compared with March, it is only down by 111,000 against the average of the prior three months -- all of which had relatively strong job growth.
The third point is that this again looks to be a regional weather story. Most of the drop is from the Midwest, with the April number down by 92,000 from the Dec-Feb average. This is a story of people being hired in unusually warm winter months so that job openings that would ordinarily exist in the spring are not there.
We should all agree that the economy is not growing fast enough, but those yapping about an economic collapse, double-dip, etc. need to talk to a weatherperson to know which way the wind blows.