Posted December 11, 2012 by

Despite Hurricane Sandy, No Change to Number of Job Openings

Bureau of Labor StatisticsThere were 3.7 million job openings on the last business day of October, little changed from September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires rate (3.2 percent) and separations rate (3.1 percent) were also little changed in October. 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 October was 3.7 million, essentially unchanged from September. The number of openings was little changed in all industries except construction, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services, which increased. The number of openings was also little changed in all four regions in October. The level of total nonfarm job openings in October 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 October (not seasonally adjusted) was up over the year for total nonfarm and total private, but little changed for government. Job openings increased over the year for construction, nondurable goods manufacturing, other services, and state and local government, but fell in wholesale trade. The Midwest and Northeast regions experienced a rise in job openings over the year.

Hires

In October, the hires rate was little changed at 3.2 percent. The hires rate was also little changed in all industries and regions over the month. The number of hires in October was 4.3 million, up from 3.7 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

Over the 12 months ending in October, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was unchanged for total nonfarm and total private, and was little changed for government. The hires rate was little changed in all industries and regions over the 12 months ending in October.

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.

In October, the total separations rate was little changed for total nonfarm, unchanged for total private, and rose for government. Over the 12 months ending in October, the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was unchanged for total nonfarm, and little changed for total private and government.

In October, the quits rate was unchanged for total nonfarm and total private, and little changed for government. The number of quits was 2.1 million in October compared to 1.8 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed over the 12 months ending in October for total nonfarm and total private, and rose for government. Quits increased over the year in mining and logging; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; and state and local government. Quits levels rose in the South, but were essentially unchanged over the year for the other three regions.

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 little changed in October for total nonfarm, total private, government, and all four regions. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.7 million in October, down from 2.1 million at the end of the recession in June 2009.

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government over the 12 months ending in October 2012. Over the year, the number of layoffs and discharges rose in mining and logging; the number fell in the Midwest region.

In October, there were 357,000 other separations for total nonfarm, little changed from the previous month. The number of other separations was also little changed over the year.

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 October 2012, hires totaled 51.7 million and separations totaled 49.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.9 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

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