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Economic News Release
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JOLTS JLT Program Links

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Friday, May 15, 2020	USDL-20-0923

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 – MARCH 2020

The number of total separations increased by 8.9 million to a series high of 14.5 million in March, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Within separations, the quits rate fell to 1.8 percent and 
the layoffs and discharges rate increased to 7.5 percent. Job openings decreased to 6.2 million on the last 
business day of March. Over the month, hires declined to 5.2 million. The changes in these measures 
reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. 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 March, the number and rate of job openings declined to 6.2 million
(-813,000) and 3.9 percent, respectively. Job openings fell in total private (-774,000), with the largest 
declines in accommodation and food services (-258,000) and durable goods manufacturing (-82,000). 
The number of job openings decreased in the South, Midwest, and West regions. (See table 1.)
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
|	              Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on March 2020 JOLTS Data			 |
|													 |
|Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. More 	 |
|information is available at the end of this news release and                                            |
|[https://www.bls.gov/bls/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-march-2020.htm].	                 |
|________________________________________________________________________________________________________|

Hires

In March, the number and rate of hires decreased to 5.2 million (-658,000) and 3.4 percent, respectively. 
The hires level decreased for total private (-654,000) and was little changed for government. Hires 
decreased in accommodation and food services (-344,000), health care and social assistance (-87,000), 
and durable goods manufacturing (-33,000). Hires increased in federal government (+8,000). The 
number of hires decreased in the Northeast, South, and West regions. (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 March, the number and rate of total separations increased to a series high of 14.5 million 
(+8,922,000) and 9.6 percent, respectively. The number of total separations increased for total private to 
14.1 million (+8,862,000) and for government to 411,000 (+60,000). Total separations increased in 
almost all industries, with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+3,999,000) and 
other services (+839,000). The number of total separations increased in all four regions. (See table 3.)

In March, the number and rate of quits decreased to 2.8 million (-654,000) and 1.8 percent, respectively. 
Total private quits fell to 2.6 million (-640,000), while government edged down to 177,000 (-14,000). 
Quits decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food 
services (-145,000) and retail trade (-137,000). The number of quits decreased in all four regions. (See 
table 4.)

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges increased in March to a series high of 11.4 million 
(+9,526,000) and 7.5 percent, respectively. The number of layoffs and discharges increased for total 
private to 11.2 million (+9,445,000) and for government to 175,000 (+80,000). The layoffs and 
discharges level increased significantly in all but one industry, with the largest increases in 
accommodation and food services (+4,136,000) and retail trade (+908,000). The number of layoffs and 
discharges increased in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations edged up in March (+50,000). Other separations increased for total 
private (+57,000) and edged down for government (-7,000). The largest increase in other separations 
was in other services (+17,000). 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 March, hires totaled 69.8 million and separations totaled 76.9 million, 
yielding a net employment loss of 7.1 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 April 2020 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
|    Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on March 2020 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data      |
|													   |
|Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While 41 percent|
|of data are usually collected by phone at the JOLTS data collection center, most phone respondents were   |
|asked to report electronically via our data collection website. However, data collection was adversely    |
|impacted due to the inability to reach some respondents that normally respond by phone. The JOLTS response|
|rate for March was 57 percent, while response rates prior to the pandemic averaged 67 percent.            |
|													   |
|BLS modified the JOLTS estimates for March to better reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19)     |
|pandemic. The estimation process usually includes an alignment of monthly hires minus separations to the  |
|over-the-month change in the Current Employment Statistics (CES) employment estimates. For March 	   |
|estimates, however, BLS suspended the alignment process because the differing reference periods for the   |
|CES employment estimates (pay period including the 12th of the month) and the JOLTS hires and separations |
|estimates (the entire reference month) led to substantially different measurement outcomes. The extremely |
|large increase in separations during the latter half of March were not included in the CES employment     |
|change for March, but were included in the JOLTS data for the month. For more information about the impact|
|of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including more information about the JOLTS estimation       |
|methodology, please see [www.bls.gov/bls/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-march-2020.htm].         |
|__________________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: May 15, 2020