U.S. job openings, hires and separations rates mostly unchanged

RP news wires
Tags: business management, talent management

There were 3.2 million job openings on the last business day of August 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 7. The job openings rate was unchanged over the month at 2.4 percent. The hires rate (3.2 percent) and the separations rate (3.2 percent) were little changed. 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 number of job openings in August was 3.2 million, which was little changed from July. Although the month-to-month change is small, the number of job openings has risen by 863,000 (37 percent) since the most recent series trough of 2.3 million in July 2009. This trough immediately followed the end of the recession in June 2009 (as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Even with the gains since July 2009, the number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million jobs open when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of job openings in August (not seasonally adjusted) increased from 12 months earlier for total non-farm and total private. Over that period, the job openings level decreased in educational services but increased in many other industries and in all of the regions.

Hires
In August, the hires rate was little changed for total non-farm at 3.2 percent. There were 4.1 million hires during the month for total non-farm, 280,000 (7 percent) higher than its most recent trough in June 2009. This trough coincided with the official end of the recession. Hires remain below the 5.0 million hires in December 2007 when the recession began. The hires level in August was little changed for all industries and regions.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total non-farm, total private and government. The hires rate increased over the past 12 months in mining and logging and in construction. The rate decreased in real estate and rental and leasing as well as in health care and social assistance.

Separations
Total separations includes quits (voluntary separations), layoffs and discharges (involuntary separations), and other separations (including retirements). The total separations, or turnover, rate in August was little changed for total non-farm and total private but decreased for government. Over the 12 months ending in August, the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total non-farm and total private but increased for government.

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. In August, the quits rate remained unchanged at 1.5 percent for total non-farm and 1.7 percent for total private and was little changed in every industry and region. The number of quits for total non-farm fell by 1.4 million between the November 2006 peak and the September 2009 trough. Since September 2009, the number of quits has risen by 282,000.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the quits rate (not seasonally adjusted) increased for total non-farm and total private, and was little changed for government. The quits rate increased over the 12 months ending in August in nondurable goods manufacturing, professional and business services, and other services as well as in the Northeast and Midwest 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 level decreased in August for total non-farm, total private and government. The number of layoffs and discharges for total non-farm peaked at 2.6 million in January 2009, falling to 1.8 million in August 2010. In government, the number of layoffs and discharges in August (236,000) was higher than when the recession began in December 2007 (117,000) due, in part, to the release of temporary Census 2010 workers in August.

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) declined over the 12 months ending in August for total non-farm and total private but increased for government. The layoffs and discharges level increased over the year in federal government reflecting, in part, the layoffs of temporary Census 2010 workers. In many industries, the layoffs and discharges level declined. The layoffs and discharges level decreased over the year in the Midwest and West regions. The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In August, there were 367,000 other separations for total non-farm, 289,000 for total private, and 78,000 for government. Compared to August 2009, the number of other separations was little changed for total non-farm and total private but increased for government. The rise in government other separations is due to an increase in state and local government.


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