Va. had fewer job openings in October
Decrease of 28,000 from September largest among states
Virginia had 308,000 job openings in October, the largest drop in openings among U.S. states, as well as 108,000 quits, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data released Dec. 17.
In September, Virginia had a record-setting 336,000 job openings, but in October, openings declined by 28,000, the largest drop among states. The October job openings rate fell 0.7 of a percentage point to 7.2%, also the largest drop among states. Nationwide, the rate of job openings growth was little changed at 6.9%.
Nationwide, the industries that led in September job openings growth were accommodation and food services, nondurable goods manufacturing and educational services. Job openings decreased in state and local government, excluding education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines job openings as positions that are open on the last business day of the reference month. A job is open only if it meets three conditions: A specific position exists and there is work available for that position; the job could start within 30 days, whether the employer can find a suitable candidate during that time; and the employer is actively recruiting workers from outside the establishment to fill the position.
The number of hires, defined as additions to the payroll during the month, in Virginia fell by 29,000 to 153,000 in October. Virginia had the largest decrease in hires among states. Nationwide, the number of hires rose slightly to nearly 6.5 million.
The number of quits — voluntary separations initiated by the employee — in Virginia decreased by 7,000 to 108,000, which was 6% lower than in September. The Virginia quits rate decreased to 2.7%, down from 2.9% in September.
Across the U.S., the number of quits decreased by 205,000 to 4.2 million, down from a record 4.4 million the month before. The U.S. quits rate decreased to 2.8% in October.
The number of layoffs and discharges — involuntary separations initiated by the employer — in Virginia remained unchanged at 28,000, a 90% decrease from the pandemic high in March 2020. Nationwide, the number of layoffs and discharges fell by 35,000, and the rate by 2.5%.
“Most measures of Virginia job openings and labor turnover in October suggested some slow-down in labor market activity,” according to a Virginia Employment Commission news release. “The rate of hiring weakened significantly, perhaps impacted by the severe worker shortage in many parts of the state’s economy. The number of hires declined by 16% over the month to its lowest level since the beginning of this year. … In such an environment, low numbers of layoffs in October may be another indication of employers’ efforts to hold onto scarce workers.”
The hires-per-job-openings ratio (HPJO) fell to 0.5 in October in Virginia and was little changed at 0.6 nationwide. The HPJO is a proxy for time to fill positions or the efficiency in filling open jobs in a labor market. The HPJO at the nonfarm-industry level has decreased steadily since the end of the Great Recession, and by January 2015, the ratio was regularly below 1.0, indicating less efficiency.
In October, as in September, there was less than one (0.5) unemployed worker per job opening in the state, the lowest rate since February 2020. The unemployed per job opening ratio, or job seekers ratio, stood at 3.1 in April 2020.