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Economy in Brief

JOLTS: Job Openings Up, Hires Rate Down
by Tom Moeller August 8, 2007

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in the Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that the June job openings rate increased slightly from the prior month to 3.0%, the highest level since January. 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 rose 5.1% m/m to 4.305 million (7.8% y/y). Private sector openings rose 5.6% (8.3% y/y) reflecting a 22.5% m/m jump in professional & business services (34.6% y/y). That made up a 29.9% (-34.5% y/y) drop in the number of construction jobs.

The hires rate fell m/m to 3.4%, its lowest level in three years. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment.

The actual number of hires decreased 4.6% (-4.7% y/y) to 4.752 million. Retail sector jobs fell by 15.7% (-19.3% y/y). Hires in the construction and the factory sectors offset each other with small changes.

The job separations rate in June was unchanged m/m at 3.3%. 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 a modest 0.7% (-3.0% y/y) from an upwardly revised level the prior month.

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.

The FOMC in 1978 from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis can be found here.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor  Turnover Survey) June May June '06 2006 2005 2004
Job Openings Rate: Total 3.0% 2.9% 2.9% 3.1% 2.8% 2.5%
Hires Rate: Total 3.4% 3.6% 3.7% 43.6% 43.1% 41.7%
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