For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, October 12, 2016 USDL-16-1991
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JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – AUGUST 2016
The number of job openings decreased to 5.4 million on the last business day of August, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were little changed at 5.2 million and 5.0
million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was 2.1 percent and the layoffs and discharges
rate was 1.1 percent. 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.
On the last business day of August, there were 5.4 million job openings, a decrease of 388,000 from
July. The job openings rate was 3.6 percent in August. The number of job openings decreased over the
month for total private (-348,000) and for government (-39,000). Job openings decreased in a number of
industries, with the largest changes occurring in professional and business services (-223,000), durable
goods manufacturing (-29,000), and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-28,000). In the regions, job
openings decreased in the South and the Midwest. (See table 1.)
The number of hires was 5.2 million in August, little changed from July. The hires rate was 3.6 percent
in August. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires was also
little changed in all industries and regions. (See table 2.)
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.
There were 5.0 million total separations in August, little changed from July. The total separations rate
in August was 3.4 percent. The number of total separations was essentially unchanged for total private
and for government. Total separations increased in state and local government education (+23,000). The
number of total separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)
The number of quits was essentially unchanged in August at 3.0 million. The quits rate was 2.1 percent.
Over the month, the number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits
decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-13,000). The number of quits was little
changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)
There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in August, little changed from July. The layoffs and
discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges was essentially unchanged over
the month for total private and edged up for government (+22,000). The layoffs and discharges level
increased in healthcare and social assistance (+39,000) and in state and local government education
(+14,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)
In August, the number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm and total private and
was unchanged for government. Other separations was little changed in all industries. The number of
other separations decreased over the month in the West region. (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 August, hires totaled 62.7 million and
separations totaled 60.1 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.6 million. These totals include
workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for September 2016 are scheduled to be
released on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EST).