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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: U.S. Job Openings Steady
by Tom Moeller April 14, 2005

The Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the job openings rate held steady in February at 2.5% versus the revised January level. Both figures remained down slightly from the improved level of 2.6% in December. The job openings rate is the number of job openings on the last business day of the month as a percent of total employment plus job openings.

The hires rate in February slipped back to 3.5% from the upwardly revised January level. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment.

The total number of job openings rose 2.2% (+16.8% y/y) following the 3.5% decline in January that was more moderate than reported initially.

Job separations fell 4.5% m/m (-0.9% y/y) for the second consecutive monthly decline. The separation rate fell to 3.1%, the lowest in over a year. Total separations include quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations as well as retirements. The total separations, or turnover, rate is the total number of separations during the month divided by employment.

The survey dates only to December 2000 but has since followed the movement in nonfarm payrolls.

A description of the Jolts survey and the latest release from the U.S. Department of Labor is available here.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) Feb Jan  Feb '04 2004 2003 2002
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.5% 2.5% 2.2% 2.4% 2.1% 2.2%
Hires Rate: Total 3.5% 3.6% 3.2% 3.4% 3.2% 3.2%
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