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Chart of the Week for November 9, 2018 - November 15, 2018

The decrease in the unemployment rate between September 2016 and September 2018 was supported by increased hiring.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts a monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that collects data on Job Openings, Hires, Quits, Layoffs and Discharges. The data is collected from approximately 16,400 establishments and covers nonfarm establishments in the private sector as well as federal, state, and local governments across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The chart above compares the JOLTS data for September in 2016, 2017, and 2018. The unemployment rate fell from 5.0% in September 2016 to 3.7% in September 2018. Economists have been noting that employers have been having problems finding qualified employees, and JOLTS confirmed that as Job Openings increased 24.1% over the period and hires only rose 9.3%. Economists note the Quits rate remains near record highs, which has positive implications for wage growth as workers are typically able to secure larger wage increases when changing jobs than staying in their current position.

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