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Economy in Brief

U.S. JOLTS: Job Openings Rate Continues Sideways Move
by Tom Moeller  March 12, 2013

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the January Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, the job openings rate ticked up to 2.7% from an unrevised 2.6% in December. However, the figure remained slightly below its highs of early last 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 rose 2.2% (8.1% y/y) and recovered half of its December decline.

The private-sector job openings rate was unchanged at 2.8% but still up versus the recession low of 1.7%. The job openings rate in health care and social services dropped sharply to 3.0%, off from last year's high of 3.7%. In leisure & hospitality, the rate also fell 3.0% while the rate in manufacturing moved sideways at 2.0%. The job openings rate in government improved to m/m to 1.8% and was up from the 2011 low of 1.3%

The hires rate held at a lower 3.1%. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The hires rate in the private sector also was constant at a lower 3.5% while the government's rate held at 1.3%. In leisure & hospitality, the hiring rate continued quite firm at 5.3% but the factory sector hires rate dipped to 1.8%. In education & health services, the rate also held at 2.5%. Overall hires in the private sector rose 1.3% y/y as hires in professional & business services rose 6.1% y/y. Hires in education & health services rose 3.4% y/y but factory sector hires fell 14.9% y/y.

The job separations rate held at 3.0%, the lowest level since early-2011. However, the actual number of separations rose 5.0% y/y. Separations include quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations as well as retirements. The layoff & discharge rate fell m/m and equaled the series' low of 1.1%. The private sector layoff rate was a lower 1.3% while in government it was just 0.4%.

The JOLTS survey dates only to December 2000 and the figures are available in Haver's USECON database.

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) Jan Dec Nov Jan'12 2012 2011 2010
Job Openings, Total
 Rate (%) 2.7 2.6 2.7 2.5 2.6 2.6 2.2
 Total (000s) 3,693 3,612 3,789 3,415 3,617 3,540 2,902
Hires, Total
 Rate (%) 3.1 3.1 3.3 3.2 38.8 38.0 37.4
 Total(000s) 4,247 4,195 4,402 4,192 51,811 50,006 48,647
Layoffs & Discharges, Total
 Rate (%) 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.2 15.6 15.6 16.7
 Total (000s) 1,507 1,569 1,705 1,640 20,621 20,678 21,737
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