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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Job Openings & Hires Firm
by Tom Moeller December 13, 2006

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that the October job openings rate was stable with the prior month at an elevated 3.0%. 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 increased 1.3% m/m to 4.207 million (8.8% y/y) and three month growth surged.

The hires rate improved m/m to 3.6%, the same as averaged during 2Q & 3Q. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment.

The actual number of hires increased 1.9% (1.5% y/y) to 4.893 million but it was the first increase in the last three months.

The job separations rate was stable for the third month in October at 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 increased a very slight 0.1% (0.6% y/y) for only the first increase in the last five months.

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) October September Oct '05 2005 2004 2003
Job Openings Rate: Total 3.0% 3.0% 2.8% 2.7% 2.4% 2.1%
Hires Rate: Total 3.6% 3.5% 3.6% 3.6% 3.5% 3.2%
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