U.S. Job Openings Just Saw a Massive Surge (Thanks to More Manipulation)

After two months of sharp declines in job openings, the Biden administration's Department of Labor reported an unexpected spike in its May data yesterday. The number of job openings increased by 221,000 to 8.140 million, far exceeding the 7.950 million estimate. This rise came from an all too familiar downward-revised April figure of 7.919 million, originally reported as 8.059 million.

This 194,000 increase above estimates is the largest since last August. However, this jump is suspicious given, as we have discussed previously, the frequent downward revisions over the past 17 months—14 revisions to be exact.


Believe it or not, some economists took this report as a positive sign of economic health, such as Robert Frick, corporate economist with Navy Federal Credit Union.

“The report was another sign that the labour market is holding firm. So far there are no indications that job growth will flag this year, so consumer spending power will continue to increase, and the expansion looks solid.”

As usual with these JOLTs reports, a closer look under the hoods tells a completely different story.

While the headline number of job openings increased, a closer look reveals that nearly all of this increase—179,000 out of 221,000—came from government jobs. These positions, funded by taxpayers, are not as meaningful to economic output and are often seen as less valuable. Government job openings themselves are approaching record highs.

In stark contrast, private sector job openings, a much better indicator of the overall job market, remain at a three-year low, sitting at 7.055 million.


Additionally, in April, the ratio of job openings to unemployed workers dropped to 1.24, down from 1.30 in March—the lowest since June 2021 and back to pre-COVID levels.

To be fair to the Biden regime, indicators such as the number of quits are still at multi-year lows, though it saw modest increases of 43,000 and 7,000 in April and May respectively.

Finally, it's crucial to note that much of the reported data is estimated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) admits that response rates for their surveys are low, with the JOLTS report having a record low response rate of 33%. This means over two-thirds of the reported job openings are based on estimates!

Given that the response rate is at a record low, any favourable interpretation of the true figures and/or data manipulation will have an outsized impact on the overall JOLTS report. In other words, jobs data is more manipulatable than ever!

Amid a crumbling economy, the Biden administration is desperate to maintain the illusion of a strong labour market to aid in his run (or Kamala's run) in the upcoming presidential election. The near-record number of government job openings seems more like a tactic to project economic strength rather than a true reflection of job market health.