What an Indicator of Labor Demand Means for U.S. Labor Market Analysis: Initial Results from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

Kelly A. Clark


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began publishing monthly estimates from the new Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) in 2002. These estimates include a measure of labor demand, the job openings rate, as well as measures of labor turnover, hires and separations. The data series have been published as developmental while BLS staff conduct a thorough methodological review and validate survey procedures and processes. The staff also has been examining the data series levels and trends compared with other similar surveys, bearing in mind the differences in scope, definitions of data elements, and questions asked. This paper will focus on the job openings rate produced by the JOLTS program and how it complements the unemployment rate and compares with one proxy for job openings, the Conference Board's Help-Wanted Advertising Index.