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Job Openings at 3.3 Million in October, Trending Upward in 2011

  • Written by Press Release
  • Category: Latest National News

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—December 13, 2011. There were 3.3 million job openings on the last business day of October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.1 percent) and separations rate (3.0 percent) were little changed over the month. The job openings rate has trended upward since the end of the recession in June 2009. (Recession dates are determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.) This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by geographic region.

Job Openings

The number of job openings in October was 3.3 million, essentially unchanged from 3.4 million in September. (See table 1.) Although the number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, the level in October was 1.2 million higher than in July 2009 (the most recent trough for the series). The number of job openings has increased 35 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.

The number of job openings in October (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the year for total nonfarm and total private but was little changed for government. A few industries and 3 out of 4 regions experienced an increase over the year in the number of job openings.  (See table 5.)

Hires

In October, the hires rate was little changed at 3.1 percent for total nonfarm. The hires rate was essentially unchanged over the month in all industries and regions. (See table 2.) The number of hires in October was 4.0 million, up from 3.6 million in October 2009 (the most recent trough) but below the 5.0 million hires recorded when the recession began in December 2007. The number of hires has edged up by 12 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.

Over the past 12 months, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The hires rate was essentially unchanged over the year in every industry except finance and insurance where the rate decreased, and real estate and rental and leasing where the rate increased. The hires rate was essentially unchanged in all four regions. (See table 6.)

Separations

The total separations figure includes voluntary quits, involuntary layoffs and discharges, and other separations, including retirements. Total separations is also referred to as turnover.

The seasonally adjusted total separations rate was little changed in October for total nonfarm, total private, and government. (See table 3.) Over the year, the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. (See table 7.)

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. In October, the quits rate was unchanged for total nonfarm, total private, and government. (See table 4.) The number of quits rose from 1.5 million in January 2010 (the most recent trough) to 1.9 million in October, although it remained below the 2.8 million recorded when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in October 2011 was little changed from 12 months earlier for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Two industries experienced an over-the-year change—mining and logging, and wholesale trade—where the number of quits increased from October 2010. (See table 8.)

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is seasonally adjusted only at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels. The layoffs and discharges rate was essentially unchanged in October 2011 for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.6 million in October, down from a peak of 2.5 million in February 2009, and below the 1.8 million layoffs and discharges at the start of the recession in December 2007.  (See table B.)

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) for total nonfarm, total private, and government was little changed over the 12 months ending in October 2011. Over the year, the number of layoffs and discharges declined for durable goods manufacturing, nondurable goods manufacturing, and finance and insurance. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed over the year in all four regions. (See table 9.)

The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In October 2011, there were 356,000 other separations for total nonfarm, 315,000 for total private, and 41,000 for government. Compared to October 2010, the number of other separations was up for total nonfarm and total private, but the same for government. (See table 10.)

Relative Contributions to Separations

The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Other separations is historically a very small portion of total separations; it has rarely been above 10 percent of total separations. The percentage of total separations attributable to the individual components has varied over time at the total nonfarm level, but for the majority of the months since the series began in December 2000, the proportion of quits has exceeded the proportion of layoffs and discharges. For most of the months between November 2008 and November 2010, however, the proportion of layoffs and discharges was equal to or greater than the proportion of quits. Since November 2010, the series have returned to their historical pattern. In October 2011, the proportion of quits for total nonfarm was 49 percent, and the proportion of layoffs and discharges was 41 percent. (See table C.)

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Over the 12 months ending in October 2011, hires totaled 48.1 million and separations totaled 46.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.3 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

To view the tables referenced above, see: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

Source: bls.gov

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