Recent Department of Labor Statistics

statisticsOn the last business day of August, the number of job openings in the U.S. was little changed at a series low level of 2.4 million, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate was little changed and remained low at 3.1 percent in August. The total separations rate was little changed and remained low at 3.3 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector by industry and geographic region.

Job Openings

The job openings rate was unchanged in August at a rate of 1.8
percent. The number of job openings has fallen by 2.4 million, or 50
percent, since the most recent peak in June 2007. The job openings
rate was little changed in August in all industries and regions.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the job openings rate (not
seasonally adjusted) decreased for total non-private,
government, the majority of industries, and all four regions. The rate
was little changed in construction; wholesale trade; real estate and
rental and leasing; educational services; and other services.

Hires

The hires level was little changed at 4.0 million in August but has
declined by 1.6 million, or 28 percent, since the most recent peak in
July 2006. The hires rate was low in August at 3.1 percent and little
changed from July. The hires rate was little changed in August in all
industries. The hires rate decreased over the month in the West and
was little changed in the remaining regions.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the hires rate (not seasonally
adjusted) declined for total nonfarm, total private, and government.
The hires rate decreased for mining and logging; construction; retail
trade; finance and insurance; educational services; and state and
local government. The hires rate fell over the past 12 months in the
West and was little changed in the remaining regions.

Separations

The total separations, or turnover, rate was little changed in August
and remained low at 3.3 percent. The total separations rate (not
seasonally adjusted) decreased over the 12 months ending in August for
total nonfarm and total private. Total separations includes quits
(voluntary separations), layoffs and discharges (involuntary
separations), and other separations (including retirements).

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or
ability to change jobs. The rate was little changed in August at 1.3
percent. The quits level was 1.7 million in August, which is 45
percent lower than the most recent peak in December 2006.

Over the 12 months ending in August, the quits rate (not seasonally
adjusted) was lower for total nonfarm, total private, government, the
majority of industries, and all four regions. The industries for which
the quits rate was little changed over the year include
transportation, warehousing, and utilities; information; finance and
insurance; real estate and rental and leasing; arts, entertainment and
recreation; and federal government.

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is
seasonally adjusted at the total nonfarm, total private, and
government levels. The layoffs and discharges level for total nonfarm,
total private, and government was little changed in August at 2.3
million, 2.2 million, and 135,000 respectively. The corresponding
layoffs and discharges rates were 1.8 percent, 2.0 percent, and 0.6
percent. The number of layoffs and discharges in August was 46 percent
higher than the recent low point in January 2006.

The layoffs and discharges rate (not seasonally adjusted) was little
changed over the 12 months ending in August for total nonfarm and
total private and increased for government. The layoffs and discharges
rate rose in mining and logging; construction; nondurable goods
manufacturing; and state and local government. The layoffs and
discharges rate increased in the Midwest and was little changed in the
remaining regions.

The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In August,
there were 321,000 other separations for total nonfarm, 263,000 for
total private, and 58,000 for government. Compared to August 2008, the
number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm,
total private, and government.

The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution
of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other
separations. The percentage of total separations at the total nonfarm
level attributable to the individual components has varied over time.
The proportion of separations due to quits declined from 61 percent in
January 2007 to a series low of 38 percent in April 2009. It then rose
slightly and stood at 41 percent in August 2009. The proportion of
layoffs and discharges reached a series high of 55 percent in July
2009 then dropped slightly to 54 percent in August 2009.

Net Change in Employment

Over the 12 months ending in August, hires totaled 50.9 million and
separations totaled 56.1 million, yielding a net employment loss of
5.2 million.

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