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January Layoffs Drop to Record Low

The number of layoffs fell 4.0 percent to 1,507,000 in January, the ""Bureau of Labor Statistics"":http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/jolts_03122013.pdf (BLS) reported Tuesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) release, which details the ins and out of the labor market. The layoff total was the smallest since the JOLTS reports began in December 2000.

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At the same time, BLS said, the number of job openings rose 2.2 percent in January to 3,693,000, which meant there were 3.34 unemployed people for every job opening--a slight improvement from 3.38 in December.

The JOLTS report tracks flows within the labor sector, noting hirings and separations by month as well as the number of job openings at the end of a month. It is reported by BLS on a one month lag. In addition to totals, data are reported on major industry sectors.

According to the report, there were 13.8 unemployed construction workers for every job opening in January, down from 18.5 in December as the number of available jobs increased and the number of unemployed construction workers dropped. Repair work in the wake of Superstorm Sandy helped ease labor pressures in the construction sector. In January 2012, there were 14.9 unemployed construction workers for every available job.

Total hires rose 1.2 percent to 4,247,000 in January, and the number of quits rose to 2,218,000, the highest level since October 2008. Quits are a surrogate for worker confidence, suggesting that workers leave one job confident of the ability to find another.

_Hear Mark Lieberman on P.O.T.U.S. (Sirius 124) every Friday at 6:40 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. Eastern time._

About Author: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.
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