In "Employment Survey Delivers JOLTS," featured in the most recent issue of EconSouth, Julie Hotchkiss and Menbere Shiferaw look beyond headline figures such as the unemployment rate and the number of jobless claims to the lesser known data produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
"The Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) allows a look inside the black box of the more frequently cited labor statistics, giving an assessment of the state of the labor market and more details about the imbalances between supply of and demand for labor," write Hotchkiss and Shiferaw.
Importantly, the JOLTS data highlight a key feature of the recession—companies' reluctance to hire—a factor that is not clearly illustrated by the unemployment rate. Accordingly, economists at the Atlanta Fed and elsewhere will be keeping a close eye on JOLTS data to evaluate progress on the hiring front. As Hotchkiss and Shiferaw explain, "as the number of job losses declines, the economy will depend on job gains, through hiring, to get people back to work."
Be sure to read the full article, featured in the first quarter 2010 issue of EconSouth, for more information on JOLTS and the important insights it lends to analyzing changes in the labor market.