Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Layoffs up, hires down in West region during June

The number of new hires in the U.S. West, which includes Colorado, fell 4.6 percent year over year from June 2011 to June 2012. Layoffs rose 8.0 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 a decrease in new hires, but the nation overall showed a 3.8 percent increase in new hires, when compared year over year. During the same period, layoffs fell 2.2 percent in the nation overall. 

In the West region, with an increase of 8 percent, the year-over-year change in the layoffs was not particularly large compared to several other year-over-year changes reported over the past two years. The year-over-year increase of 4.6 percent in new hires, however was the largest decline since May of 2011, and is the second-largest drop since 2010. 

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. June 2012 was the fifth month in a row during which new hires have exceeded separations in the West region. This followed two month in which separations outnumbered new hires. So far, overall new hiring activity looks similar to 2010 and 2011, but is slightly weaker.

For the West region during June 2012, there were 54,000 more hires in the region than separations.

This report shows some weakness in regional employment. Recent data from the Philly fed has suggested some slowing and weakness in the Colorado economy, and although this is regional data, Colorado may be impacted by some mild stagnation in employment which appears to be affecting the state in recent months. The overall situation, however, continues to show new employment gains.

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.