July 31, 2002
New data on job openings and labor turnover were introduced this week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job openings are a measure of unmet labor demand and can be compared with unemployment, which measures unused labor supply.
The number and rate of job openings in May 2002 were substantially lower than a year earlier. On the last business day of May 2002, there were 3.5 million job openings, 2.6 percent of the number of total filled and unfilled positions (employment plus job openings) in the United States. This was down significantly from 4.3 million openings, or a job openings rate of 3.2 percent, in May 2001. Over the same period, the total U.S. unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) rose to 5.5 percent from 4.1 percent a year earlier.
These data are a product of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Job openings refer to the number on the last business day of the month. Also, these data are not seasonally adjusted. Find additional information in "New Monthly Data Series on Job Openings and Labor Turnover Announced by BLS," USDL 02-412.