U.S. May Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report (Text)

Following is the text of the May job openings and labor turnover rates.

Job Openings and Labor Turnover - May 2012

There were 3.6 million job openings on the last business day of May, little changed from 3.4 million in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.3 percent) and separations rate (3.3 percent) were essentially unchanged in May. 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 May was 3.6 million, little changed from April. Job openings increased for manufacturing, government, and state and local government. The number of openings also increased for the Midwest region. The level of total nonfarm job openings in May was up from 2.4 million at the end of the recession in June 2009. (Recession dates are determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research.)

The number of job openings in May (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Job openings increased over the year for several industries and the Northeast and South regions.

Hires

In May, the hires rate was essentially unchanged at 3.3 percent for total nonfarm. The hires rate was little changed in all industries and regions. The number of hires in May was 4.4 million, up from 3.7 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

Over the 12 months ending in May, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm and total private but increased for government. The hires rate declined over the year in construction but rose in transportation, warehousing, and utilities and federal government.

Separations

The total separations figure includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is also referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations include separations due to retirement, death, and disability, as well as transfers to other locations of the same firm.

The seasonally adjusted total separations rate was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm, total private, and government in May. Over the year, the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm, total private, and government.

In May, the quits rate displayed little or no change for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of quits was 2.1 million in May, up from 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in May was essentially unchanged over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of quits increased over the year in several industries but decreased in retail trade.

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is seasonally adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels and for the four regions. The layoffs and discharges rate was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm and total private but increased for government. The layoffs and discharges rate showed little change in all four regions. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.9 million in May 2012, down from 2.1 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) for total nonfarm, total private, and government was little changed over the 12 months ending in May 2012. Over the year, the number of layoffs and discharges rose for mining and logging and was essentially unchanged in all four regions.

The other separations component of total separations is seasonally adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels. In May 2012, there were 344,000 other separations for total nonfarm, an increase from the previous month. Over the 12 months ending in May 2012, the number of other separations was little changed.

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising. Over the 12 months ending in May 2012, hires totaled 51.1 million and separations totaled 49.3 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.8 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for June 2012 are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Upcoming Changes to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover News Release

Effective with the release of June data on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, current tables B and C will be moved to the numbered tables section and will become tables 5 and 6, respectively. Current tables 5 through 10 will be renumbered tables 7 through 12.

Technical Note

The data for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) are collected and compiled monthly from a sample of business establishments by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Collection

In a monthly survey of business establishments, data are collected for total employment, job openings, hires, quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Data collection methods include computer-assisted telephone interviewing, touchtone data entry, web, fax, e-mail, and mail.

Coverage

The JOLTS program covers all private nonfarm establishments such as factories, offices, and stores, as well as federal, state, and local government entities in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Middleton in Washington at cmiddleton2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.