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Economy in Brief

U.S. JOLTS: Job Openings Rate Falls But Hiring Improves
by Tom Moeller  June 11, 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its April Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that the job openings rate slipped m/m to 2.7% from an unrevised 2.8% in March. 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 fell 3.0% m/m (+6.6% y/y) and backed further away from the recovery high reached in February.

The private-sector job openings rate slipped to 2.9% from its recovery high of 3.0%. The job openings rate in professional & business services held at  3.6% and in leisure and hospitality it fell to 3.2%. The rate in education & health services slipped to 3.1%. The rate in manufacturing moved lower to  2.0%, its lowest since November 2011, while in construction it held steady at 1.8%. The job openings rate in government held m/m at 1.8% but still was up from the 2011 low of 1.3%.

The hires rate rebounded to 3.3% yet continued its erratic sideways move since 2011. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The hires rate in the private sector ticked up to 3.6% while the government's rate slipped to 1.3%. In construction the hiring rate fell hard m/m to 4.9%, its lowest level in twelve months. In professional & business services the hires rate rose to 5.1% but remained down from the cycle high of 5.5%. In leisure & hospitality, the hiring rate increased to 5.7%, its highest since last March, while in education & health services the rate rose to 2.6%. The factory sector hires rate improved to 1.9% but that was down from its June high of 2.4%.

Overall hires in the private sector rose 4.1% y/y. Education & health services hiring gained 11.5% y/y while retail trade employment grew 9.2% y/y. Professional & business services hiring improved 9.1% versus last year; leisure & hospitality hiring rose 4.0% y/y but factory sector jobs fell 11.1% y/y. Government sector hiring improved 0.7% y/y.

The job separations rate rose to 3.2%, its highest since last May. Moreover, the actual number of separations increased 3.8% y/y. Separations include quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations as well as retirements. The layoff & discharge rate held m/m at a low 1.2%. The private sector layoff rate held at 1.4% and in government it was stable at 0.5%.

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


JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey) Apr Mar Feb Apr'12 2012 2011 2010
Job Openings, Total
 Rate (%) 2.7 2.8 2.8 2.2 2.6 2.5 2.2
 Total (000s) 3,757 3,875 3,899 3,523 3,612 3,384 2,930
Hires, Total
 Rate (%) 3.3 3.1 3.3 3.3 38.9 37.7 37.4
 Total (000s) 4,425 4,227 4,451 4,252 51,811 50,006 48,647
Layoffs & Discharges, Total
 Rate (%) 1.2 1.2 1.2 1.3 15.4 15.4 16.8
 Total (000s) 1,653 1,686 1,572 1,742 20,670 20,320 21,747
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