Press Releases

News from EPI Job openings and hiring dropped in December, and have not increased since early 2012

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Donte Donald, 202-775-8810

The December Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows job openings dropped in December to 3.6 million, a decline of 173,000. The number of job openings, which had been improving fairly steadily since reaching its low of 2.2 million in July 2009, has stalled in recent months and has not improved since March 2012. In her analysis, EPI economist Heidi Shierholz notes that layoffs are the one bright spot in today’s report, decreasing by 132,000 in December to 1.6 million. While layoffs are not currently the primary concern in the labor market, as they have been at prerecession levels for more than two years, fewer layoffs is still good news. Because job openings and hiring remain so depressed, the consequences to workers of being laid off—specifically, the low odds of finding a new job within a reasonable timeframe, particularly one that pays as much as the job lost—are far worse now than before the recession began, Shierholz explains.