Virginia employment strengthened with 24,000 jobs in July
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July 2022 Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for Virginia reveals the largest increase in hiring in the nation.
Virginia job openings in July rose to 344,000 with 24,000 new hires.
According to JOLTS data, the estimated number for July new hires was little changed in most states, but significantly increased in Virginia. JOLTS includes data for job openings, hires, layoffs, voluntary quits and other job separations such as retirement and death.
Virginia’s July openings are a 14,000 increase from June 2022, and exceed the record 340,000 reached in March 2022. U.S. job openings changed little at 11.2 million in July.
The job opening rate in Virginia for July was 7.8 percent, the same as in March, but lower than the highest of 7.9 percent in September 2021. The U.S. job openings rate was little changed at 6.8 percent.
Less than one unemployed worker was available per job opening in Virginia in July, which has remained steady for the previous few months, and the lowest rate since January 2001 when BLS began collecting data. The ‘job seekers ratio’ peaked at 4.4 unemployed per job opening in February 2010 during the Great Recession, while the number of unemployed workers per job opening stood at 3.3 in April 2020 during the height of pandemic employment impacts due to COVID-19.
The nation’s job openings rate was 4.5 percent in January 2020, and was above 4 percent for more than 30 consecutive months. For 2018 and 2019, the national unemployment rate had been 4.1 percent or lower, until January 2020, when it was 3.5 percent. In April 2020, the job openings rate fell to 3.5 percent with an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent. Since May 2020, a steady increase in the job openings rate and decrease in the unemployment rate have existed.
In Virginia, according to JOLTS, an estimated 122,000 workers quit in July, which was 11,000 more than the 111,000 who quit in June, and a quarter higher than in July 2021. However, July’s number does not surpass the 131,000 who quit in December 2021.
Layoffs and discharges in the Commonwealth during July 2022 increased by 7,000 to 36,000, compared to June’s 29,000. July’s number is still 15 percent lower than in 2018. The national number of layoffs and discharges in July was 1.4 million. Mississippi saw the largest increases in layoffs and discharges, followed by Minnesota and Ohio. According to the BLS, layoffs typically increase during economic contractions and decrease during economic expansions.
While rumors of recession and economic downturn continue, hiring managers disagree. Employers have struggled since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020 to built back staff, and are refraining from layoffs. JOLTS predicts another “hot job market” month evidenced by the number of workers leaving jobs. In the last year, at least 100,000 Virginians left their jobs, which has not happened since 2001. More than 70 percent of separations in July were voluntary quits and may indicate worker confidence in their chances to find better employment.