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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Openings Steady at Upwardly Revised Level
by Tom Moeller April 11, 2006

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the February job openings rate, from the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), was unchanged from an upwardly revised 2.9% the prior month. 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.

So far this year the job opening rate has averaged 2.9%, up from 2.7% last year, and the actual number of job openings jumped 1.8% to 4.054 million (16.0% y/y) from an upwardly revised January level.

The hires rate held steady m/m at an upwardly revised January level of 3.7%. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The actual hires level increased 0.6% m/m to 4.972 million (2.9% y/y).

The job separations rate increased to 3.3% after two months 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 surged 4.8% (0.2% y/y) to 4.492 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.

What a New Set of Indexes Tells Us About State and National Business Cycles from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) Feb Jan Feb '05 2005 2004 2003
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.9% 2.9% 2.6% 2.7% 2.4% 2.1%
Hires Rate: Total 3.7% 3.7% 3.6% 3.6% 3.5% 3.2%
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