Little to no movement in job openings, separations and hires rates

RP news wires
Tags: talent management

There were 2.5 million job openings on the last business day of December 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on February 9. The job openings rate was little changed over the month at 1.9 percent. The job openings rate has held relatively steady since March 2009. The hires rate (3.1 percent) and the separations rate (3.2 percent) were essentially unchanged in December. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires and separations for the total non-farm sector by industry and geographic region.

Job Openings
The job openings rate was little changed in December at 1.9 percent. The rate has been 1.8 percent or 1.9 percent since March 2009. In December, the job openings rate increased in state and local government and decreased in the Midwest.

Over the 12 months ending in December, the job openings rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased for total non-farm and total private and was unchanged in government. The job openings rate also decreased over that period in educational services and health care and social assistance and in the South and Midwest.

Hires
The hires rate was unchanged in December, remaining at 3.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month. The rate hovered between 3.0 percent and 3.2 percent since February 2009. After falling from the most recent peak of 5.6 million hires in July 2006, the hires level reached a low point in June 2009 of 3.9 million. In December 2009, the hires level was 4.1 million. The hires rate decreased in professional and business services and was essentially unchanged for all four regions.

Over the 12 months ending in December, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total non-farm, total private and government. The hires rate increased for transportation, warehousing and utilities and was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

Separations
Total separations includes quits (voluntary separations), layoffs and discharges (involuntary separations), and other separations (including retirements). The total separations, or turnover, rate was little changed in December and remained low at 3.2 percent. The total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased over the 12 months ending in December for total non-farm and total private while the rate for government was little changed.

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. The quits rate decreased for total non-farm and total private and was unchanged for government in December. The quits rate was essentially unchanged in all industries and all four regions. After falling from the most recent peak of 3.2 million in December 2006, the number of quits has held steady at 1.8 million or 1.9 million since February 2009.

Over the 12 months ending in December, the quits rate (not seasonally adjusted) was essentially unchanged for total non-farm and government and decreased for total private. The quits rate decreased in retail trade. The quits rate was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is seasonally adjusted at the total non-farm, total private and government levels. The layoffs and discharges levels for total non-farm, total private and government were little changed in December at 2.1 million, 2.0 million and 117,000, respectively. The corresponding layoffs and discharges rates were 1.6 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.5 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges at the total non-farm level peaked at 2.6 million in January 2009; the most recent trough was 1.6 million in January 2006.

The layoffs and discharges rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed over the 12 months ending in December for total non-farm and government and decreased for total private. The layoffs and discharges rate fell in durable goods; wholesale trade; and professional and business services.  The rate rose in transportation, warehousing and utilities as well as federal government. The layoffs and discharges rate remained essentially unchanged in all four regions.


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