Article

May 2013

Job openings continue to grow in 2012, hires and separations less so

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Table 8 gives the annual number of layoffs and discharges and the annual rate of layoffs and discharges, by industry, for 2011 and 2012. From 2011 to 2012, the total nonfarm annual layoffs and discharges rate declined in many industries and rose in others. The total nonfarm annual layoffs and discharges rate decreased from 15.5 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012. The rate declined the most in nondurable goods manufacturing, an 18.0-percent drop, from 12.8 percent in 2011 to 10.5 percent in 2012. The rate increased the most in mining and logging, rising 51.0 percent, from 10.4 percent in 2011 to 15.7 percent in 2012, and in wholesale trade, increasing 7.9 percent, from 10.1 percent in 2011 to 10.9 percent in 2012.

Table 8. Annual number of layoffs and discharges(1) and annual rate of layoffs and discharges,(2) by industry, not seasonally adjusted, 2011 and 2012
IndustryNumber (thousands)Rate (percent)
20112012ChangePercent change20112012ChangePercent change

Total

20,40120,546145.715.515.4–0.1–0.6

Total private

19,09619,3362401.317.517.3–.2–1.1

Mining and logging                

82134.05263.410.415.75.351.0

Construction                        

2,8362,745–91–3.251.348.7–2.6–5.1

Manufacturing                      

1,3181,263–55–4.211.210.6–.6–5.4

Durable goods                      

746793476.310.310.6.32.9

Nondurable goods                    

570469–101–17.712.810.5–2.3–18.0

Trade, transportation, and utilities          

3,3813,4931123.313.513.7.21.5

Wholesale trade                    

5626215910.510.110.9.87.9

Retail trade                        

2,1572,200432.014.714.8.1.7

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities  

663674111.713.713.6–.1–.7

Information                        

273262–11–4.010.29.8–.4–3.9

Financial activities                    

636607–29–4.68.37.8–.5–6.0

Finance and insurance              

349329–20–5.76.15.6–.5–8.2

Real estate and rental and leasing        

291280–11–3.815.114.3–.8–5.3

Professional and business services        

4,5874,8142274.926.526.9.41.5

Education and health services                

1,8131,900874.89.19.4.33.3

Educational services                

366383174.611.311.4.1.9

Health care and social assistance        

1,4471,517704.88.78.9.22.3

Leisure and hospitality                    

3,0903,070–20–.623.122.3–.8–3.5

Arts, entertainment, and recreation        

929904–25–2.748.446.0–2.4–5.0

Accommodations and food services      

2,1592,1656.318.918.4–.5–2.6

Other services                        

1,0791,046–33–3.120.119.2–.9–4.5

Government                              

1,3091,210–99–7.65.95.5–.4–6.8

Federal                          

134128–6–4.54.74.5–.2–4.3

State and local                          

1,1761,082–94–8.06.15.7–.4–6.6

Notes:

(1) The annual number of layoffs and discharges is the total number of layoffs and discharges during the entire year.
(2) The annual rate of layoffs and discharges is the number of layoffs and discharges during the entire year, as a percentage of annual average employment.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the following tabulation shows, the annual rate of layoffs and discharges fell the most in the Northeast, from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 14.6 percent in 2012, and increased the most in the West, from 15.6 percent in 2011 to 15.9 percent in 2012:
Layoffs and dischargesNortheastSouthMidwestWest  
Number (thousands):      
20113,9267,4184,5714,489  
20123,7007,5394,6304,679  
Change, 2011–2012–22612159190  
Percent change, 2011–2012–5.81.61.34.2  
Rate (percent):      
201115.715.515.315.6  
201214.615.515.215.9  
Change, 2011–2012–1.1.0–.1.3  
Percent change, 2011–2012–7.0.0–.71.9  

3. Other separations. The total annual number of other separations increased both from 2010 to 2011 and then again from 2011 to 2012. Table 9 presents the annual number of other separations and the annual rate of other separations, by industry, for 2011 and 2012. The following tabulation gives level, percent change, and rate statistics (not seasonally adjusted) on other separations over the 2-year span:
YearNumber of other separations (thousands)Percent change from previous yearRate of other separations (percent)   
20103,8934.63.0   
20113,911.53.0   
20123,9972.23.0   
Table 9. Annual number of other separations(1) and annual rate of other separations,(2) by industry, not seasonally adjusted, 2011 and 2012
IndustryNumber (thousands)Rate (percent)
2,0112012ChangePercent change20112012ChangePercent change

Total

3,9113,997862.23.03.00.00.0

Total private

3,1723,229571.82.92.9.0.0

Mining and logging                

2126.0523.82.73.1.414.8

Construction                        

145119–26–17.92.62.1–.5–19.2

Manufacturing                      

25526272.72.22.2.0.0

Durable goods                      

15416063.92.12.1.0.0

Nondurable goods                    

1011010.02.32.3.0.0

Trade, transportation, and utilities          

885902171.93.53.5.0.0

Wholesale trade                    

190120–70–36.83.42.1–1.3–38.2

Retail trade                        

4905728216.73.33.8.515.2

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities  

20520942.04.24.2.0.0

Information                        

6357–6–9.52.42.1–.3–12.5

Financial activities                    

20837116378.42.74.82.177.8

Finance and insurance              

15429714392.92.75.12.488.9

Real estate and rental and leasing        

52732140.42.73.71.037.0

Professional and business services        

608569–39–6.43.53.2–.3– 8.6

Education and health services                

546473–73–13.42.72.3–.4–14.8

Educational services                

7261–11–15.32.21.8–.4–18.2

Health care and social assistance        

475410–65–13.72.92.4–.5–17.2

Leisure and hospitality                    

3063504414.42.32.5.28.7

Arts, entertainment, and recreation        

2827–1–3.61.51.4–.1– 6.7

Accommodations and food services      

2743224817.52.42.7.312.5

Other services                        

137111–26–19.02.62.0–.6–23.1

Government                              

740768283.83.43.5.12.9

Federal                          

12413175.64.34.7.49.3

State and local                          

614639254.13.23.3.13.1

Notes:

(1) The annual number of other separations is the total number of other separations during the entire year.
(2) The annual rate of other separations is the number of other separations during the entire year, as a percentage of annual average employment.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of other separations changed little, rising from 3.9 million in 2011 to 4.0 million in 2012, an increase of 2.2 percent. By comparison, it rose 0.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. On a quarterly basis, the number of other separations decreased 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2012, increased 2.9 percent in the second quarter, rose 5.1 percent in the third quarter, and fell 0.9 percent in the final quarter. On the whole, in 2012 the number of other separations trended upward, increasing from 302,000 in January to 367,000 in December.

The number of other separations decreased from 346,000 at the beginning of the recession, in December 2007, to 289,000 at the end of the recession, in June 2009. Since then, the series has been trending upward and, like the number of layoffs and discharges, has returned to its prerecession level. Although the number of other separations has exceeded the level at which it stood at the start of the recession, it should be noted that the rate of other separations does not typically vary greatly. Throughout JOLTS history, the rate has ranged from 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent. Nevertheless, this measure is an important one to follow, because within the category of other separations is that of employees who leave their job to retire. Some have theorized that the number of other separations decreased during the recession because of an increase in the economic burden on employees and a decrease in income for employees who were planning to retire.13

JOLTS DATA SHOW THAT, WHILE LABOR DEMAND, as measured by the number of job openings, increased during 2012, worker flow, in the form of an increase in hires and separations, has been slower to improve. Nevertheless, layoffs and discharges, as well as other separations, have returned to prerecession levels, adding stability to the growth of the labor market as fewer employees are involuntarily separated from their jobs and employees begin to feel more comfortable about retiring again.


Notes

13 See, for example, Emily Brandon, “Planning to retire: most baby boomers plan to delay retirement,” U.S. News, June 30, 2010, http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2010/06/30/most-baby-boomers-plan-to-delay-retirement.

 

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About the Author

Kendra C. Hathaway
hathaway.kendra@bls.gov

Kendra C. Hathaway is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics.