Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, May 10, 2016	USDL-16-0944

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – MARCH 2016

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.8 million on the last business day of March, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires edged down to 5.3 million while separations were little 
changed at 5.0 million. Within separations, the quits rate was 2.1 percent, and the layoffs and discharges 
rate was 1.2 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and 
separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by four geographic regions.

Job Openings

Job openings were little changed at 5.8 million in March. The job openings rate was 3.9 percent. The 
number of job openings was little changed in March for total private and edged up for government. Job 
openings increased in professional and business services (+124,000), transportation, warehousing, and 
utilities (+35,000), and nondurable goods manufacturing (+29,000). Job openings decreased in retail 
trade (-80,000), educational services (-36,000), and wholesale trade (-35,000). The number of job 
openings was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires edged down to 5.3 million in March. The hires rate was 3.7 percent. The number of 
hires decreased for total private (-241,000) and was little changed for government. Hires rose in state 
and local government education (+23,000), but fell in retail trade (-85,000) and educational services 
(-21,000). In the regions, hires decreased in the West. (See table 2.)

Separations

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, and disability, as well as transfers to other locations of the same firm.

There were 5.0 million total separations in March, little changed from February. The total separations 
rate in March was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and 
for government. Total separations decreased in finance and insurance (-38,000). The number of total 
separations was down in the South region. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in March at 3.0 million. The quits rate was 2.1 percent. Over the 
month, the number of quits was little changed for total private and government. Quits increased in 
construction (+50,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+9,000). Quits decreased 
in finance and insurance (-38,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-19,000). The number of quits 
was little changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in March, little changed from February. The layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.2 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed over the month 
for total private and for government. In March, layoffs and discharges rose in arts, entertainment, and 
recreation (+35,000) but fell in mining and logging (-6,000). The number of layoffs and discharges 
decreased in the South region. (See table 5.)

In March, other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The 
number of other separations decreased in retail trade (-22,000), nondurable goods manufacturing 
(-7,000), and information (-5,000). In the regions, the number of other separations increased in the 
Northeast and Midwest but decreased in the West. (See table 6.)

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 March, hires totaled 62.4 million and 
separations totaled 59.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.8 million. These totals include 
workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
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The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for April 2016 are scheduled to be released 
on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: May 10, 2016