Va. job openings, number of hires rebound from October 2021
Virginia had largest decrease among states for both measures in October 2021
Virginia had 301,000 job openings in November, a small rebound from October 2021, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) data released Jan. 21.
In October 2021, job openings in Virginia declined by about 28,000, which was the largest drop among states. The Virginia job openings rate was little changed, rising by 0.2 of a percentage point to 7% in November 2021. Nationwide, the number of job openings decreased to 10.6 million, and the rate of job openings fell to 6.6%
The industries with the largest decreases in job openings were accommodation and food service; construction; and nondurable goods and manufacturing.
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 rose by 8,000 to 161,000 in November 2021. The number of hires is a rebound from October 2021’s drop, which was then the largest decrease among states, but is still almost 6% lower than November 2020. Nationwide, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 6.7 million and 4.5%, respectively.
The number of quits — voluntary separations initiated by the employee — in Virginia increased by 1,000 to 106,000, 14% higher than November 2020. The quits rate remained at 2.7%.
Across the U.S., the number of quits increased by 370,000 to a series high of 4.5 million — representing the most people quitting since the U.S. began keeping records of the statistic about 20 years ago, according to a Virginia Employment Commission news release. The November 2021 quits rate increased to 3% from October 2021’s 2.8%.
The number of layoffs and discharges — involuntary separations initiated by the employer — in Virginia was 29,000, only about 1,000 more than the number reported in October 2021. It’s a 90% decrease from the pandemic high in March 2020. Nationwide, the number of layoffs and discharges was 1.4 million, and the rate of 0.9% remained the same.
The hires-per-job-openings ratio (HPJO) was unchanged at 0.5 in November 2021 in Virginia and slightly higher 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.
“As the 2021 holiday season began in November, most measures of Virginia job openings and labor turnover indicated continued tightness, reversing some of October’s slight slowdown,” according to a Virginia Employment Commission news release. “Indicators made clear what a job seekers market it was as the rate of hires to job openings fell to a record low in November. … During a period of pandemic fatigue and uncertainty, this accelerated velocity of labor turnover indicates that, while some workers left the labor force entirely, more remained in their industries but shuttled between employers, looking for better working conditions and higher pay.”
In November 2021, as in October 2021 and September 2021, 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.