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Job Openings little changed at 6.9 million in February
The number of job openings was little changed at 6.9 million on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.6 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.2 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by four geographic regions.
On the last business day of February, the job openings level was little changed at 6.9 million and the job openings rate was also little changed at 4.3 percent. Job openings decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-30,000) and information (-29,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.
In February, the number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million while the rate was unchanged at 3.9 percent. The hires level increased in durable goods manufacturing (+29,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.
Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.
In February, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 5.6 million and 3.6 percent, respectively. The number of total separations edged up in government (+28,000). The total separations level decreased in professional and business services (-122,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (-20,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions.
In February, the number of quits was little changed at 3.5 million while the rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent. Total private quits were little changed while the quits level edged up for government (+15,000). Quits decreased in real estate and rental and leasing (-27,000). The number of quits decreased in the South region.
The number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed in February at 1.8 million and 1.2 percent, respectively. The layoffs and discharges level increased in real estate and rental and leasing (+16,000) and federal government (+6,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions.
The number of other separations decreased in February (-80,000). Other separations decreased for total private (-79,000) and was unchanged for government. The largest decreases in other separations were in accommodation and food services (-19,000) and health care and social assistance (-17,000). The number of other separations decreased in the Northeast and West regions.
Net Change in Employment
Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising.
Over the 12 months ending in February, hires totaled 70.3 million and separations totaled 67.9 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.4 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
Posted: April 7, 2020 Tuesday 10:00 AM