Francis Cianfrocca joins Ben Domenech for the Monday, August 17th edition of Coffee & Markets, a series of brief morning podcasts on politics and the marketplace.
It’s not enough for most people to know what the unemployment rate is and whether it’s going up or down. It’s not enough for investors and entrepreneurs living during some of the strangest times in American financial history. And it’s not enough for citizens trying to decide whether the policy proposals now in Washington are worthy of their support. If you fall into any of these categories, you need to know more about the labor market than the headline numbers. In particular, you need to know the JOLT.
Last week we learned that non-farm payrolls dropped by “only” 247,000 and that the unemployment rate decreased a tick from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent — important statistics both. This week, however, a lesser-known but no-less-vital jobs indicator arrived: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (or JOLT, to its friends). This survey breaks down the ins and outs, literally, of our dynamic employment system. It tells us how fast we’re hiring, firing, quitting, and offering gainful employment. Critically, it tells us the hires rate.