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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Openings Steady
by Tom Moeller March 14, 2006

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the job openings rate, from the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), was unchanged from a downwardly revised 2.8% 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 actual number of job openings fell for the second month to 3.916 million (17.3% y/y).

The hires rate also was steady m/m but the December level was revised up to 3.5%. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The hires level during December fell 134,000 (-2.8% y/y) to 4.507 million.

The job separations rate was steady at a low 3.2%. 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 level of job separations fell 182,000 (-6.8% y/y) to 4.133 million.

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.

Jobless Recoveries and the Wait-and-See Hypothesis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas city is available here.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) Jan Dec Jan '05 2005 2004 2003
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.8% 2.8% 2.5% 2.7% 2.4% 2.1%
Hires Rate: Total 3.5% 3.5% 3.7% 3.6% 3.5% 3.2%
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