Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New hires exceed layoffs for third month in US West

The number of new hires in the U.S. West, which includes Colorado, rose 4.8 percent year over year from April 2011 to April 2012, as layoffs and other separations climbed 23.1 percent during the same period.

According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report (JOLTS), released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the West reported an increase in new hires, and the nation overall showed a 2.6 percent increase in new hires, when compared year over year. During the same period, layoffs and other separations rose 7.4 percent in the nation overall while they increased in the West region. 

In the West region, with an increase of 23.1 percent, the year-over-year change in the layoffs in April was the largest increase since January 2012, and teh second-largest increase since April 2009.  While the year-over-year increase of 4.8 percent in new hires was a small increase, it supported the slight drift upward in new hires that has been seen since early 2011. 

The first graph shows the year-over-year change in new hires and in layoffs in the U.S. West region.

In the second graph, we see the total number of new hires compared with the total number of separations, including quits, layoffs and other separations.

Note that when total hires (the blue line) are above total separations (the purple bar) then a positive net number of jobs have been added to the economy. April 2012 was the third month in a row during which new hires have exceeded separations in the West region.  So far, overall new hiring activity looks similar to 2010 and 2011. 

For the West region during April 2012, there were 61,000 more hires in the region than separations. This is significantly fewer than April 2011 when there were 127,000 more hires than separations.

According to Colorado's jobs report for April 2012, April was a productive month for job growth, although the rate of growth has moderated in recent months.

With layoffs growing more than new hires, this report suggests some weakness in the job market, although job creation does continue to take place.

Note: The JOLTS employment data is tied to the Establishment Survey which does not cover small business hiring and self-employed persons.The BLS recent made some significant revisions to employment data at year-end 2011. This analysis reflects the new revised data.