Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 11, 2017	USDL-17-0416

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – FEBRUARY 2017

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.7 million on the last business day of February, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were also little 
changed at 5.3 million and 5.1 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed 
at 2.1 percent, and the layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged 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 February, there were 5.7 million job openings, little changed from January. 
The job openings rate was 3.8 percent in February. The number of job openings was little changed for 
total private and for government. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest 
changes occurring in health care and social assistance (+73,000), accommodation and food services 
(+66,000), and finance and insurance (+47,000). Job openings decreased in real estate and rental and 
leasing (-63,000) and mining and logging (-7,000). Job openings increased in the Northeast region. (See 
table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in February. The hires rate was 3.6 
percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires increased in 
retail trade (+74,000) and mining and logging (+9,000), but decreased in federal government (-13,000). 
The number of hires was little changed in all four 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.

There were 5.1 million total separations in February, little changed from January. The total separations 
rate in February was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and 
for government. Total separations decreased in health care and social assistance (-54,000), educational 
services (-22,000), and federal government (-6,000). The number of total separations was little changed 
in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was essentially unchanged at 3.1 million in February. The quits rate was 2.1 
percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits increased in 
transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+25,000) and mining and logging (+5,000). The number of 
quits decreased in health care and social assistance (-53,000), wholesale trade (-34,000), and finance and 
insurance (-22,000). In the regions, the number of quits decreased in the West. (See table 4.)

There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in February, little changed from January. The layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.1 percent in February. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for 
total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level increased in retail trade (+57,000) and 
state and local government education (+12,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in 
transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-44,000), educational services (-15,000), and federal 
government (-3,000). Layoffs and discharges decreased in the Midwest region. (See table 5.)

In February, the number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and 
government. Other separations increased in accommodation and food services (+15,000) and state and 
local government education (+6,000), but decreased in information (-7,000) and educational services
(-4,000). 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 February, hires totaled 63.0 million 
and separations totaled 60.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.4 million. These totals 
include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for March 2017 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: April 11, 2017