Recent Updates

  • US: Chicago Fed National Activity Index (Aug)
  • Kazakhstan: Pension Accumulation (Aug)
  • Brazil: BOP (Jun, Jul)
  • Mexico: Economic Activity (Jul)
  • OECD: OECD Economic Outlook - Interim Assessment (Sep Report)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. JOLTS: Job Openings Rate Strengthens, But Hires Ease
by Tom Moeller  May 10, 2016

The job openings rate increased to 3.9% during March from 3.8% in February, revised from 3.7%. The increase was to a level which equaled the record high. The private sector job openings rate held steady m/m at 4.1%, slightly below the record. This rate compared to 2.2% in the public sector. 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. Hiring was stronger as past vacancies were filled. The hires rate in March eased to 3.7%. The private sector rate declined m/m to 4.0%, and compared to 1.7% in the public sector. The hires rate is the number of hires during the month divided by employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports these figures in its Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

The actual number of job openings increased 2.7% in March to 5.757 million (11.1% y/y), and neared July's record high. A 12.7% y/y rise in private sector openings was led by an 18.6% y/y increase in construction. That was followed by an 18.2% y/y rise in education & health services, and a 15.3% y/y increase in professional & business services. Manufacturing sector job openings increased 14.5% y/y, and openings in retail trade rose 9.6% y/y. Job openings in leisure & hospitality improved 4.7% y/y.

The number of hires declined 4.0% m/m to 5.292 million in March, but they were up 3.6% y/y. Private sector hiring increased 2.7% y/y, reflecting a 9.6% y/y rise in construction. Leisure & hospitality jobs improved 8.4% y/y, and education & health services jobs rose 5.4% y/y. Professional & business services employment was little changed y/y, while public sector jobs jumped 15.5% y/y.

The total job separations rate eased to 3.5%, down from its cycle high of 3.6%. The actual number of separations increased 1.2% y/y. Factory sector separations increased 10.0% y/y. Financial sector separations increased 8.5% y/y, and leisure & hospitality sector separations rose 4.8% y/y. Education & health care separations eased 0.4% y/y while professional & business services separations were little changed y/y. Separations include quits, layoffs, discharges, and other separations as well as retirements.

The layoff & discharge rate eased to 1.2%, and was near the record low. The private sector rate of 1.3% also was near the all-time low and compared to 0.5% in the public sector. Layoffs overall declined 13.3% y/y in the private sector, but were up 1.9% y/y in the public sector.

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

JOLTS (Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey, SA) Mar Feb Jan Mar '15 2015 2014 2013
Job Openings, Total
 Rate (%) 3.9 3.8 3.8 3.5 3.6 3.3 2.7
 Total (000s) 5,757 5,445 5,604 11.1% 9.7 28.7% 4.6%
Hires, Total
 Rate (%) 3.7 3.8 3.6 3.6 43.6 42.2 39.6
 Total (000s) 5,292 5,510 5,125 3.6% 5.2% 8.2% 3.5%
Layoffs & Discharges, Total
 Rate (%) 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.4 14.9 14.7 14.7
 Total (000s) 1,671 1,808 1,704 -12.4% 2.7% 2.4% -5.3%
large image