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Economic News Release
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Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Wednesday, July 7, 2021	USDL-21-1266
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 – MAY 2021

The number of job openings was little changed at 9.2 million on the last business day of May, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires were little changed at 5.9 million. Total separations 
decreased to 5.3 million. Within separations, the quits rate decreased to 2.5 percent. The layoffs and 
discharges rate, while little changed over the month, hit a series low of 0.9 percent. This release includes 
estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by 
industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class. 
   
Job Openings

On the last business day of May, the job openings level changed little at 9.2 million. The job openings 
rate was unchanged at 6.0 percent. Job openings increased in other services (+109,000), state and local 
government education (+46,000), and educational services (+35,000). The number of job openings 
decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-80,000); state and local government, excluding 
education (-56,000); and federal government (-17,000). The number of job openings was little changed 
in all four regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

In May, the number and rate of hires changed little at 5.9 million and 4.1 percent, respectively. Hires 
decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-56,000) and in federal government
(-10,000). The number of hires decreased in the Northeast region. (See table 2.)

Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. 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 May, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 5.3 million (-485,000) and 3.7 percent, 
respectively. The total separations level decreased in four industries, with the largest decreases in 
professional and business services (-192,000); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-53,000); and 
state and local government education (-42,000). Total separations decreased in the South and West 
regions. (See table 3.)

In May, the quits level and rate decreased to 3.6 million and 2.5 percent, respectively. Quits decreased 
in a number of industries with the largest decreases in professional and business services (-181,000); 
transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-46,000); and durable goods manufacturing (-25,000). The 
number of quits decreased in the Northeast and South regions. (See table 4.)

In May, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1.4 million. The rate was also little 
changed at 0.9 percent, a series low. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in educational 
services (-21,000). Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in May at 346,000. Other separations decreased in 
retail trade (-30,000), state and local government education (-12,000), and educational services
(-3,000). Other separations increased in health care and social assistance (+22,000). The other 
separations level 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 May, hires totaled 73.0 million and separations totaled 64.8 million, 
yielding a net employment gain of 8.2 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired 
and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In May, the quits rate decreased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees and large 
establishments with 250-999 employees. The total separations rate for large establishments with 250-
999 employees decreased in May. For a more in-depth description of the JOLTS establishment size class 
estimates, please visit www.bls.gov/jlt/sizeclassmethodology.htm.

_____________	
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for June 2021 are scheduled to be 
released on Monday, August 9, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
|			Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on May 2021				|
|			   Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data					|
|Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While 42 	|
|percent of data are usually collected by phone at the JOLTS data collection center, most phone 	|
|respondents were asked to report electronically. However, data collection was adversely impacted due to| 
|the inability to reach some respondents that normally respond by phone. The JOLTS response rate for 	|
|May was 44 percent, while response rates prior to the pandemic averaged 54 percent.			| 
|More information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including 		|
|information about the JOLTS estimation methodology, is available at 					|
|www.bls.gov/covid19/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-may-2021.htm.				|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________________________|
    

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Last Modified Date: July 07, 2021