Is this what an upswing feels like?

Though job hiring activity remains sluggish, private non-farm job openings and hires have increased since last year.

Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that on a year-over-year basis, private non-farm job openings and hires have increased while layoffs and discharges have decreased.

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released their latest monthly read of job availability and labor turnover (JOLT) showing that, on a year-over-year basis, private non-farm job “openings” increased 2.65%, job “hires” increased 5.91%, job “layoffs and discharges” decreased 27.93% and job quits declined 4.74%.

Job “openings”, the reports most leading “demand side” indicator, appears to be in the process of defining a bottom of sorts vacillating monthly between gain and loss but not dropping near the low levels seen during early 2009.

Sliding down that slope of the Beveridge curve, the decline in the job vacancy rate clearly corresponded with an equal but inverse movement up in the general unemployment rate as can be plainly seen in the following chart (click chart for larger version).

Job “hiring” activity has also appears to be defining a bottom albeit at a historically low level.

Job separations are continuing to decline as both quitting activity continues to remain at a very low level and layoffs by employers continue to slow.

It’s important to understand that job “quits” are included as a component of the “separations” data series as “quitting” is a valid means of workers “separating” from employers but their inclusion tends to create an overall procyclical trend in what would otherwise be logically thought of as a countercyclical process (i.e. downturn leads to increase in separations not decrease).

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