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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) for April 2020

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS*) for April 2020 was released by the Labor Department this morning:

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Job Openings

Predicted: 5,700,000
Actual:    5,046,000

  • Previous Month (revised): 6,011,000

  • One Year Previous:7,284,000

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Hires: 3,524,000 

Total Separations: 9,888,000 

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The above, yellow-highlighted percentage represents the estimated number of job openings in the United States during the indicated month. The "predicted" figure is what economists were expecting, while the "actual" is the true or real figure.

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From Today's Release:

"...The number of total separations decreased by 4.8 million to 9.9 million in April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Despite the over the month decline, the total separations level is the second highest in series history. Within separations, the quits rate fell to 1.4 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to 5.9 percent. Job openings decreased to 5.0 million on the last business day of April. Over the month, hires declined to 3.5 million, a series low. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by four geographic regions.

 
Job Openings

On the last business day of April, the number of job openings declined to 5.0 million (-965,000). The job openings rate was little changed at 3.7 percent. Job openings fell in total private (-883,000) and in government (-82,000). Among the industries, the largest declines were in professional and business services (-309,000), health care and social assistance (-115,000), and retail trade (-113,000). The number of job openings decreased in all four regions.

Hires
In April, the number and rate of hires decreased to series lows of 3.5 million (-1,587,000) and 2.7 percent, respectively. The hires level decreased for total private (-1,439,000) and for government (-148,000). Hires decreased in a number of industries, with the largest declines in professional and business services (-422,000), accommodation and food services (-247,000), and construction (-196,000). The number of hires decreased in all four regions.

Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is 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 includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

In April, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 9.9 million (-4,755,000) and 7.5 percent, respectively. Total separations decreased in many industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-3,001,000), professional and business services (-473,000), and retail trade (-460,000). The number of total separations increased in real estate and rental and leasing (+47,000), state and local government, excluding education (+46,000), and information (+42,000). Total separations decreased in all four regions.

In April, the number and rate of quits decreased to 1.8 million (-1,003,000) and 1.4 percent, respectively. Quits fell to 1.6 million (-976,000) for total private and 143,000 (-27,000) for government.
Quits decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-249,000) and professional and business services (-216,000). The number of quits decreased in all four regions.

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased in April to 7.7 million (-3,773,000) and 5.9 percent, respectively. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased for total private to 7.5 million (-3,816,000) but increased for government to 216,000 (+43,000). The layoffs and discharges level decreased significantly in several industries. The majority of the decline occurred in accommodation and food services (-2,738,000) followed by retail trade (-338,000). Layoffs and discharges increased in construction (+85,000), information (+53,000), and wholesale trade (+50,000). The number of layoffs
and discharges decreased in all four regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in April. The other separations level was little changed for total private and for government. Other separations increased in professional and business
services (+29,000) and health care and social assistance (+19,000). The number of other separations decreased in accommodation and food services (-15,000). Other separations were little changed in all
four regions.

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 April, hires totaled 67.2 million and separations totaled 81.1 million, yielding a net employment loss of 13.9 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year..."

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Chart: Job Openings, Hires and Separations - April 2020 Update
Chart: Job Openings, Hires and Separations
April 2020 Update
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Here's How The Labor Department Defines Total Separations:

"Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is 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 includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm."

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