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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Job Openings Steady, Hires Rate Down
by Tom Moeller June 6, 2006

The April job openings rate as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was unchanged at 2.9%, where it has been all year. 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, however, ticked 0.1% higher to 4.095 million. That added to strong monthly gains earlier in the year and pulled the number of openings up 14.1% y/y.

Moving in the other direction the hires rate fell to 3.4%, the lowest level in a year, from 3.6% in March. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The actual number of hires fell a sharp 7.0% (-0.7% y/y) after a 1.4% March decline.

The job separations rate fell to 3.3% from 3.5% in March and 3.4% in February. 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 dropped 5.6% (-4.2% y/y) to 4.419 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.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) April March April '05 2005 2004 2003
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.9% 2.9% 2.6% 2.7% 2.4% 2.1%
Hires Rate: Total 3.4% 3.6% 3.4% 3.6% 3.5% 3.2%
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