Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 12, 2019	USDL-19-0240

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2018

The number of job openings reached a series high of 7.3 million 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 5.5 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 
2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent. This release includes 
estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm sector by 
industry and by four geographic regions.

Job Openings

On the last business day of December, the job openings level reached a series high of 7.3 million. The 
job openings rate was 4.7 percent. The number of job openings edged up for total private (+198,000) and 
was little changed for government. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest 
increases in construction (+88,000), accommodation and food services (+84,000), and health care and 
social assistance (+79,000). The job openings level decreased in a number of industries, with the largest 
decreases in nondurable goods manufacturing (-37,000), federal government (-32,000), and real estate 
and rental and leasing (-31,000). Job openings was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in December. The hires rate was 3.9 percent. The 
hires level was little changed for total private and for government. Hires increased in retail trade 
(+126,000), educational services (+19,000), and mining and logging (+9,000). Hires decreased in 
information (-22,000) and in federal government (-10,000). The number of hires increased in the 
Midwest 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.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.5 million in December. The total separations 
rate was 3.7 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for 
government. Total separations increased in federal government (+8,000). The number of total 
separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The 
quits level was little changed for total private but decreased for government (-18,000). Quits increased in 
professional and business services (+60,000) and in health care and social assistance (+49,000). Quits 
decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decrease in other services (-42,000). 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 1.7 million. The layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The layoffs and discharges level was little changed for total private and 
for government. Layoffs and discharges increased in retail trade (+56,000) and in federal government 
(+4,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations edged up (+50,000) in December. The other separations level also 
edged up for total private (+47,000) and was little changed for government. Other separations increased 
in professional and business services (+23,000), health care and social assistance (+21,000), and other 
services (+15,000). Other separations decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-4,000). The 
number of other separations increased in the Midwest region. (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 68.5 million 
and separations totaled 65.9 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.6 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 results for January 2019 are scheduled to be 
released on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
|                         Upcoming Revisions and Methodology Change                                |
|                                                                                                  |
|As part of an annual process, the January 2019 data release on March 15, 2019, 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 December 2000      |
|forward are subject to revision. Additionally, a new methodology for item imputation will be      |
|implemented.                                                                                      |
|__________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: February 12, 2019