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Economic News Release
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Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 11, 2020	USDL-20-0243

Technical information:	(202) 691-5870  •  JoltsInfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/jlt
Media contact:		(202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

			 JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2019

The number of job openings fell to 6.4 million (-364,000) on the last business day of December, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 
5.9 million and 5.7 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges 
rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively. This release includes estimates of the 
number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by 
four geographic regions.

Job Openings
 
On the last business day of December, the job openings level fell to 6.4 million (-364,000), and the job 
openings rate decreased to 4.0 percent. Over the year, the job openings level declined by 14.9 percent. 
Over the month, the number of job openings decreased for total private (-332,000) and was little 
changed for government. The largest decreases for job openings were in transportation, warehousing, 
and utilities (-88,000), real estate and rental and leasing (-34,000), and educational services (-34,000). 
The number of job openings fell in the South region. (See tables 1 and 7.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in December. The hires rate was little changed at 
3.9 percent. The hires level increased in accommodation and food services (+69,000). The number of 
hires increased in the West region. (See table 2.)

Separations
 
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.

In December, the number of total separations was little changed at 5.7 million and the rate was little 
changed at 3.8 percent. The number of total separations decreased in retail trade (-118,000) but 
increased in other services (+57,000). The total separations level increased in the South region. (See 
table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million and the rate was unchanged at 2.3 
percent. Quits decreased in retail trade (-111,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-20,000). The 
number of quits was little changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in December at 1.9 million and the rate was 
unchanged at 1.2 percent. Layoffs and discharges increased in other services (+61,000) and arts, 
entertainment, and recreation (+47,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in state and 
local government, excluding education (-15,000) and federal government (-3,000). The layoffs and 
discharges level increased in the South region. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in December. Other separations decreased in other 
services (-18,000). The number of other separations was little changed in all four regions. (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 December, hires totaled 70.0 million and separations totaled 67.8 million, 
yielding a net employment gain of 2.2 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 estimates for January 2020 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
|			  Upcoming Revisions to the JOLTS Estimates				  |
|												  |
|As part of an annual process, the January 2020 release on March 17, 2020, will incorporate the   |
|annual updates to the Current Employment Statistics employment estimates and the JOLTS           |
|seasonal adjustment factors. Unadjusted data and seasonally adjusted data from January 2015      |
|forward are subject to revision.								  |
|_________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: February 11, 2020