November 14, 2008
The job openings rate was little changed in September 2008 but has been trending downward over the last 12 months. At 2.3 percent in September, the job openings rate was at the lowest level since April 2004.
Although the job openings rate was little changed at the total nonfarm and total private levels, the rate decreased significantly in September in the manufacturing and retail trade industries (retail trade is part of the trade, transportation, and utilities industry, which is shown in the chart).
Throughout the history of the series, three industries consistently have had higher job openings rates than the other industries, although the gap has recently decreased: education and health services (3.3 percent in September), professional and business services (3.1 percent), and accommodation and food services (part of leisure and hospitality, 3.0 percent).
These data are from the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. To learn more, see "Job Openings and Labor Turnover: September 2008," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-1670. These data are seasonally adjusted; data for the most recent month are preliminary. Job openings include only those jobs open on the last business day of the month. The job openings rate is computed by dividing the number of job openings by the sum of employment and job openings and multiplying that quotient by 100.