Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Job Openings and Labor Turnover News Release and Data
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) provides estimates of job openings, hires, and separations that serve as demand-side indicators at the national level. If you have questions, contact the JOLTS staff.
Questions and Answers
Has data collection for JOLTS been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Data collection for the JOLTS program was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, JOLTS collected an average of 42 percent of data by phone at the JOLTS data collection center and 52 percent of data collected by web. Data collection was adversely affected by the inability to reach respondents that normally report by phone. For the 12 months from March 2020 through February 2021, the average collection of data by phone was 30 percent. The average collection of data by web was 65 percent.
Have response rates for JOLTS been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? Response rates for the JOLTS program were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic, the JOLTS response rate averaged 58 percent. For the 12 months from March 2020 through February 2021, the response rate averaged 49 percent.
- How are people absent from their jobs counted by JOLTS? The reference periods of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey are the pay period that includes the 12th of the month for employment, the last business day of the month for job openings, and the entire calendar month for hires and separations. Although BLS does not estimate employment in the JOLTS program, BLS does collect employment during the collection process to validate reported job openings, hires, and separations. Also, employees who are not actually separated are not counted as separations by JOLTS.
- How are people who are laid off from their jobs counted by JOLTS? Employees who are laid off from their job at any time during the month are reported in the layoff and discharges measure and in total separations. See the JOLTS frequently asked questions for detailed information on the data definitions.
- Will BLS attempt to quantify the overall impact of COVID-19 on JOLTS estimates? The main goal for JOLTS is to provide accurate estimates of job openings, hires, and separations. It will not be possible to precisely quantify the impact of COVID-19 on job openings, hires, or separations because its effects cannot be separated from other influences on the economy, particularly at the national level. Comparing changes for a specific month against those of recent months may provide a general indication of the impacts at the national level.
- Will JOLTS suppress any cells, series, indexes, or observations because of the COVID-19 pandemic? The JOLTS program does not expect an impact on publication cell suppression.
- How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the JOLTS measures of error? Because the JOLTS program uses the median standard error over 5 years, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 5-year median standard errors for 2021 was not significant. JOLTS error measures that include data from the current year are updated every March.
Monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover news releases and COVID-19 impact summaries
Last Modified Date: September 29, 2021