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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. (ET) Tuesday, May 11, 2021	USDL-21-0856
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 2021

The number of job openings reached a series high of 8.1 million on the last business day of March, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires were little changed at 6.0 million. Total 
separations were little changed at 5.3 million. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.4 
percent while the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to a series low of 1.0 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 March, the job openings level reached a series high of 8.1 million 
(+597,000). The job openings series began in December 2000. The job openings rate increased to 5.3 
percent. Job openings increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in accommodation 
and food services (+185,000); state and local government education (+155,000); and arts, entertainment, 
and recreation (+81,000). The number of job openings decreased in health care and social assistance     
(-218,000). The number of job openings increased in the Northeast and Midwest regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

In March, the number and rate of hires changed little at 6.0 million and 4.2 percent, respectively. Hires 
increased in state and local government education (+62,000); educational services (+31,000); and 
mining and logging (+17,000). 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. 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 were little changed at 5.3 million and 3.7 percent, 
respectively. The total separations level decreased in construction (-82,000) and in state and local 
government education (-25,000). Total separations were little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

In March, the quits level and rate were little changed at 3.5 million and 2.4 percent, respectively. The 
number of quits increased in accommodation and food services (+63,000) and in information (+16,000). 
Quits decreased in state and local government education (-19,000). The number of quits was little 
changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

In March, the number of layoffs and discharges decreased to a series low of 1.5 million. The layoffs 
and discharges rate decreased to 1.0 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in 
construction (-93,000). Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in March at 334,000. Other separations increased 
in professional and business services (+29,000). Other separations decreased in information (-7,000); 
state and local government education (-6,000); and nondurable goods manufacturing (-5,000). 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 March, hires totaled 73.2 million and separations totaled 69.9 million, 
yielding a net employment gain of 3.3 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired 
and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

JOLTS produces estimates for job openings, hires, and separations by establishment size. These 
estimates can provide additional insight into the internal dynamics of the labor market. There are six 
employment size classes: 1-9; 10-49; 50-249; 250-999; 1,000-4,999; and 5,000 or more employees. 
Utilizing these size classes, establishments can also be described as small (1-49 employees), medium 
(50-249), and large (250+). For a more in-depth description of the JOLTS establishment size class 
estimates, please visit www.bls.gov/jlt/sizeclassmethodology.htm.

In March, the job openings rate increased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees and large 
establishments with 5,000 or more employees. In small establishments with 1-9 employees, the layoffs 
and discharges rate decreased. The layoffs and discharges rate increased in large establishments with 
250-999 employees. 
_____________	
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for April 2021 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________
|			Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on March 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 	|
|March was 45 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-March-2021.htm.				|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: May 11, 2021