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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: U.S. Job Market Firmed Further
by Tom Moeller December 13, 2005

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the job openings rate, from the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), rose again in October suggesting a further firming of the US job market. The rate rose to 2.9% from an upwardly revised 2.8% in September and from 2.4% one year ago. 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 actual number of job openings rose 156,000 (21.0% y/y) to four million.

The job separations rate dropped sharply to 3.1% from an upwardly revised 3.6% in September and for the first time this year fell below the 2004 average of 3.2%. 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 hires rate held steady at 3.5% versus an upwardly revised September level. The hires rate is the number of hires 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) Oct Sept Oct '04 2004 2003 2002
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.9% 2.8% 2.4% 2.4% 2.1% 2.2%
Hires Rate: Total 3.5% 3.5% 3.4% 3.4% 3.2% 3.2%
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