More quits than layoffs and discharges in health care, July 2016

September 13, 2016

In July 2016, a total of 3.0 million workers quit their jobs, while there were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges. The quits-to-layoffs-and-discharges ratio (quits divided by layoffs and discharges) was 1.9. This ratio varied by industry. It was 0.8 in both arts, entertainment, and recreation and construction and was 3.3 in health care and social assistance.

Ratio of quits and layoffs and discharges by industry, July 2016
Industry      Quits     (p) Layoffs and discharges(p) Ratio of
quits to
layoffs and discharges(p)

Health care and social assistance

351,000 105,000 3.3

Other services

142,000 48,000 3.0

Accommodation and food services

577,000 213,000 2.7

Finance and insurance

63,000 23,000 2.7

Retail trade

464,000 181,000 2.6


46,000 20,000 2.3

State and local government, excluding education

90,000 41,000 2.2

Wholesale trade

94,000 42,000 2.2

Nondurable goods manufacturing

61,000 30,000 2.0

Real estate and rental and leasing

36,000 18,000 2.0


2,980,000 1,579,000 1.9

State and local government education

71,000 43,000 1.7

Transportation, warehousing, and utilities

94,000 59,000 1.6

Mining and logging

12,000 8,000 1.5

Educational services

49,000 35,000 1.4

Professional and business services

553,000 413,000 1.3

Durable goods manufacturing

79,000 65,000 1.2

Federal government

12,000 11,000 1.1

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

62,000 77,000 0.8


125,000 148,000 0.8

(p) Preliminary

The quits-to-layoffs-and-discharges ratio of less than 1.0 in arts, entertainment, and recreation and construction shows that that layoffs and discharges exceeded quits in these industries. For example, construction workers are routinely laid off as projects are completed and then rehired elsewhere for new projects. In arts, entertainment, and recreation, there were 62,000 quits and 77,000 layoffs and discharges in July, while construction had 125,000 quits and 148,000 layoffs and discharges.

The ratio of quits to layoffs and discharges for health care and social assistance was 3.3 in July. The number of quits (351,000) was more than three times the number of layoffs and discharges (105,000). The high ratio suggests a need for workers, caused by constant voluntary turnover and few layoffs and discharges.

Other industries for which the quits-to-layoffs-and-discharges ratio was 2.6 or higher were retail trade, finance and insurance, accommodation and food services, and other services.

These data are from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey and are seasonally adjusted. Data for the most recent month are preliminary. To learn more, see "Job Openings and Labor Turnover — July 2016" (HTML) (PDF). More charts featuring data on job openings, hires, and employment separations can be found in Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Highlights: July 2016 (PDF). Total separations (employment terminations) consist of quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by employees. Therefore, the number of quits can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by employers. The other separations category includes separations due to retirement, death, and disability, as well as transfers to other locations of the same firm.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, More quits than layoffs and discharges in health care, July 2016 on the Internet at (visited September 21, 2019).


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