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Economy in Brief

by Tom Moeller JOLTS: Job Openings & Hires Firm July 11, 2007

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that the May job openings rate increase from the prior month, about where it has been since mid 2006. 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 was about stable m/m at 4.163 million (3.1% y/y).

The hires rate improved m/m to 3.6%, up from the average 3.5% during the prior three months. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment.

The actual number of hires increased 2.0% (-2.7% y/y) to 4.920 million.

The job separations rate in May fell a bit to 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 for the second month (-10.8% y/y).

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) May April May '06 2006 2005 2004
Job Openings Rate: Total 2.9% 2.9% 2.9% 3.1% 2.8% 2.5%
Hires Rate: Total 3.6% 3.5% 3.7% 43.6% 43.1% 41.7%
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