U.S. Employers Have 7 Million Job Openings

11/7/2019

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, November 5, 2019 USDL-19-1907

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JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – SEPTEMBER 2019

The number of job openings edged down to 7.0 million (-277,000) on the last business day of

September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations

were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.8 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and the

layoffs and discharges rate were little changed at 2.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. This release

includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm

sector by industry and by four geographic regions.

Job Openings

On the last business day of September, the job openings level edged down to 7.0 million (-277,000).

The job openings rate was 4.4 percent. The number of job openings edged down for total private

(-262,000) and was little changed for government. The job openings level decreased in health care and

social assistance (-124,000), retail trade (-102,000), and federal government (-19,000). Job openings

increased in information (+25,000). The number of job openings decreased in the Northeast region. (See

table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in September and the hires rate was unchanged at

3.9 percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. The hires level

decreased in federal government (-30,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.

(See table 2.)

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.

 

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.8 million in September and the rate was

unchanged at 3.8 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for

government. The total separations level was little changed in all industries and in all four regions. (See

table 3.)

 

The number of quits was little changed in September at 3.5 million as was the rate at 2.3 percent. The

quits level was little changed for total private and for government. Quits decreased in accommodation

and food services (-74,000) and in real estate and rental and leasing (-19,000). The number of quits

decreased in the Northeast and South regions. (See table 4.)

 

The number of layoffs and discharges edged up in September to 2.0 million (+152,000). The layoffs

and discharges rate was 1.3 percent. The layoffs and discharges level edged up for total private

(+151,000) and was little changed for government. The number of layoffs and discharges increased in

accommodation and food services (+72,000) and in health care and social assistance (+42,000). The

layoffs and discharges level was little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

 

The number of other separations was little changed in September. The other separations level was also

little changed for total private and for government. Other separations increased in accommodation and

food services (+15,000) and in nondurable goods manufacturing (+5,000). The number of other

separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 6.)

 

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 September, hires totaled 69.9

million and separations totaled 67.4 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.5 million. These totals

include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

 
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