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Economy in Brief

U.S. JOLTS: Job Openings Rate Remains Unchanged
by Tom Moeller  August 6, 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in its June Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) that the job openings rate remained steady m/m at 2.8% in June. May was revised up from 2.7%. The trend, however, has been sharply upward. 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 ticked up 0.7% m/m (3.8% y/y), after a revised 2.8% May rise, and reached a high for the economic recovery.

The private-sector job openings rate held steady at its recovery high of 3.0%. The job openings rate in professional & business services moved up to 3.6% but in leisure and hospitality it slipped to 3.2%. The rate in education & health services edged lower to 3.0%. The rate in manufacturing fell to 1.8%, its lowest since June 2011, but in construction it improved to 2.2%, its highest level since early 2007. The job openings rate in government slipped m/m to 1.8% but still was up from the 2011 low of 1.3%.

The hires rate fell sharply to 3.1%, the low point of its range since 2011. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The hires rate in the private sector fell sharply to 3.4%, its lowest since January 2011. The government's rate held steady at 1.3%. In leisure & hospitality the hiring rate slipped to 5.5%. In professional & business services the hires rate slipped to 4.7% and remained down from the cycle high of 5.4%. In construction the hiring rate fell m/m to 5.2%, down sharply from the 2012 high of 6.4%. The factory sector hires rate dipped to 1.9% and remained down from its June 2012 high of 2.4%. In education & health services the rate slumped to 2.2%, a new series low.

Overall hires in the private sector fell 3.7% y/y. Professional & business services hiring was off 5.0% y/y. Factory sector jobs fell by nearly one-quarter y/y and government sector hiring slipped 0.4% y/y. Education & health services hiring dropped 6.6% y/y. Working 8.2% higher y/y was leisure & hospitality hiring while retail trade employment gained 1.9% y/y.

The job separations rate fell to 3.0%, the low end of its range for the past year. The actual number of separations fell 4.9% y/y. Separations include quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations as well as retirements. The layoff & discharge rate fell sharply m/m to 1.1%, a new series low. The private sector layoff rate fell to 1.3% and in government it slipped to 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, SA) Jun May Apr Jun'12 2012 2011 2010
Job Openings, Total
 Rate (%) 2.8 2.8 2.7 2.7 2.6 2.5 2.2
 Total (000s) 3,936 3,907 3,800 3,792 3,612 3,384 2,930
Hires, Total
 Rate (%) 3.1 3.3 3.2 3.3 38.9 37.7 37.4
 Total (000s) 4,201 4,490 4,395 4,357 51,946 49,644 48,637
Layoffs & Discharges, Total
 Rate (%) 1.1 1.3 1.3 1.3 15.4 15.4 16.8
 Total (000s) 1,537 1,752 1,741 1,786 20,670 20,320 21,747
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