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Latest Sign of Job Market Health: Quitters

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Job openings are a better gauge of the job market than unemployment, but there's another measure that provides a better look at the job market as a part of the economy as a whole, according to one analyst.The number of people quitting their jobs compared with the total number of job separations sheds light on the job market outlook and reflects trends in consumer confidence, said Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx.

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And competition for jobs is much less fierce than in prior years, Colas noted. Early this year, there were four unemployed people per job opening. That's down from 12 people per job in July 2009, but still not as good as two people per job in December of 2000.

Search data from Yahoo! yields interesting stats about people who are searching for unemployment benefits. About 30 percent of searches for the term "unemployment benefits" were made by Yahoo! search users between the ages of 45 and 54, and New York, Ohio and Wisconsin were the top three states where those searches most often originated. Year over year, searches for "unemployment benefits" were down 40 percent, according to Yahoo.

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Searchers looking for specific companies were particularly looking for jobs at Wal-Mart (WMT), Manpower (MAN), Costco (COST), Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT), according to Yahoo! search data.

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