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Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey : More Info

The following are important notes about using Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) program data.

In January 2002, the enrollment of the full complement of panels, based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system, was completed. In May 2003, the enrollment of the supplemental panels needed to produce estimates based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was completed. The data collected up until this time are from less than a full sample. Therefore, estimates from earlier months should be used with caution, because fewer sampled establishments reported data at that time.

In March 2002, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) procedures for collecting data on hires and separations were revised to address possible underreporting. As a result, JOLTS estimates of hires and separations for months prior to March 2002 may not be comparable with estimates for March 2002 and later.

When the Department of Homeland Security was formed, approximately 180,000 employees were transferred to that agency. In March 2003, Office of Personnel Management records show that these transfers were completed. The inclusion of transfers in the JOLTS definitions of hires and separations is intended to cover ongoing movements of workers between establishments. By contrast, the Department of Homeland Security reorganization was a massive one-time event, and the inclusion of these intergovernmental transfers would distort the federal government time series. The hires and separations estimates for federal government does not reflect these transfers.

Technical references

Darrell Greene, “Research on Improving the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey’s Outlier Detection Procedures Using Winsorization Treatment” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2006),

Edmond Cheng, Nicole Hudson, Jurgen Kropf, and Jeannine Mercurio, “The CES/JOLTS Divergence: How to Apply the Monthly Alignment Method to Help Close the Gap” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2009),

Mark Crankshaw, “Simulating JOLTS Hires and Separations Data Using Historical QCEW Data” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, October 2010),

Mark Crankshaw and George Stamas, “Sample Design in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, no date),

North American Industry Classification System (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012),

Robert E. Fay and Philip Steel, “Variance Estimation for Finite Populations with Imputed Data” (U.S. Census Bureau, 1995),

Last Modified Date: July 13, 2020