Data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, are largely consistent with recent trends in Vanguard data. Both are showing a moderation in hirings and separations across the economy, although the downward trend is a little less pronounced in the JOLTS data. And while the JOLTS data are still showing hires outpacing separations whereas the Vanguard data have shown separations now exceeding hires, the trends are converging.
The JOLTS data’s broader representation in terms of industry and firm size may be responsible for some of the modest differences.
“The government and health care sectors together explain roughly half of all new job growth in 2023,” said David Pakula, a Vanguard investment strategist. “These industries are underrepresented in the Vanguard 401(k) population, so it’s understandable that the Vanguard 401(k) series presents a more cautious assessment of the labor market than the JOLTS data.”