Job openings continue to grow in 2012, hires and separations less so
Job openings by industry and region. On an annual basis, the total nonfarm average monthly job openings rate rose from 2.3 percent in 2011 to 2.6 percent in 2012. Real estate and rental and leasing saw the largest percent increase in the average monthly job openings rate, a 33.3-percent rise, from 2.1 percent to 2.8 percent over the year. Next was nondurable goods manufacturing, which grew 31.3 percent, from 1.6 percent to 2.1 percent. The rate declined the most in mining and logging, which posted a 39.4-percent drop over the year, from 3.3 percent to 2.0 percent. Information was next, falling 7.9 percent, from 3.8 percent to 3.5 percent. Table 2 shows the average monthly number of job openings and the average rate of job openings, by industry, for 2011 and 2012.
|Industry||Number (thousands)||Rate (percent)|
|2011||2012||Change||Percent change||2011||2012||Change||Percent change|
Mining and logging
Trade, transportation, and utilities
Transportation, warehousing, and utilities
Finance and insurance
Real estate and rental and leasing
Professional and business services
Education and health services
Health care and social assistance
Leisure and hospitality
Arts, entertainment, and recreation
Accommodations and food services
State and local
(1) The average number of monthly job openings is the average number of job openings on the last business day of each month during the year.
|Percent change, 2011–2012||14.6||23.9||14.9||2.7|
|Percent change, 2011–2012||8.7||21.7||13.0||.0|
Definitions of JOLTS terms
Job openings are the number of openings on the last business day of the reference month.
Hires are all additions of personnel to the payroll during the reference month.
Total separations are the number of employees separated from payroll during the reference month.
Quits are separations in which employees left a job voluntarily but did not retire or transfer.
Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by employers.
Other separations are separations due to retirement, transfers, or deaths and separations caused by disability.
Beveridge curves also can be calculated for the four regions, with the use of JOLTS and Local Area Unemployment Statistics data.9 In 2012, the Beveridge curve for the Northeast moved upward and slightly to the right as the job openings rate rose from 2.2 percent in January to 2.5 percent in December while the unemployment rate grew from 8.0 percent in January to 8.1 percent in December. The Beveridge curve for the South moved slightly downward and to the left, with the job openings rate dropping from 2.8 percent in January to 2.7 percent in December and the unemployment rate falling from 8.0 percent in January to 7.3 percent in December. The Beveridge curve for the Midwest moved upward and to the left as the job openings rate increased from 2.5 percent in January to 2.7 percent in December while the unemployment rate fell from 7.6 percent in January to 7.2 percent in December. The Beveridge curve for the West moved up and to the left, with the job openings rate rising from 2.2 percent in January to 2.5 percent in December while the unemployment rate dropped from 9.7 percent in January to 8.6 percent in December.
In the first half of 2010, all of the regional Beveridge curves shifted outward, as did the national curve; however, they all shifted in various ways and degrees and continued to develop differently during the recovery. (See chart 5.) In the Midwest, although the initial shift in the curve was not as large as that in the other regions, by 2012 the curve had moved farther out on the grid. By contrast, the West experienced a large initial shift in its curve, but in 2012 the curve moved closer to its 2010 location, exhibiting an increase in job-matching efficiency.
Hires and separations
Hires, along with separations, demonstrate another important aspect of the labor market: worker flow. (See charts 6 and 7.) The number of hires is a procyclical measure, rising during an expansion and falling during a recession. The separations measure is more complex. There are three elements within separations: quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits, which are voluntary separations, are a procyclical measure; layoffs and discharges, which are involuntary separations, constitute a countercyclical measure. That is, during an expansion, more people quit their jobs and fewer people are laid off. During a recession, more people are laid off and fewer people quit their jobs. These two elements countering each other, but with quits usually predominating, make separations overall a mildly procyclical measure.10 (See chart 8.) The last element within separations, other separations—which include separations due to retirement, death, and disability, as well as transfers to other locations of the same firm—tends to be procyclical. However, because of its smaller size relative to the other two components of separations, the category of other separations tends not to have a large impact on total separations. (See chart 9.)
6 The U.S. Census Bureau defines the four regions of the United States as follows: Northeast—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont; South—Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia; Midwest—Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin; West—Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming. This listing applies to all tabulations that follow showing estimates for the U.S. regions.
8 See, for example, Ed Crooks, “German giant says U.S. workers lack skills,” Europe News (CNBC, June 20, 2011), http://www.cnbc.com/id/43459947; and Rand Ghayad and William Dickens, “It’s not a skill mismatch: disaggregate evidence on the U.S. unemployment–vacancy relationship,” VOX, Jan. 5, 2013, http://www.voxeu.org/article/it-s-not-skill-mismatch-disaggregate-evidence-us-unemployment-vacancy-relationship.