Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 9, 2016	USDL-16-0271

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2015

The number of job openings increased to 5.6 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. 
Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were little changed at 5.4 million and 
5.1 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was 2.1 percent, and the layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.1 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 rose to 5.6 million in December. The job openings rate was 3.8 percent. The number of 
job openings increased in December for total private and was little changed for government. Job 
openings increased in construction (+69,000), nondurable goods manufacturing (+60,000), and durable 
goods manufacturing (+26,000). In the regions, job openings increased in the West over the month. (See 
table 1.)

The number of job openings (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the 12 months ending in 
December for total nonfarm and total private, and edged up for government. Job openings rose in several 
industries over the year with the largest changes in health care and social assistance (+172,000) and 
finance and insurance (+99,000). The number of job openings increased over the year in the Northeast, 
Midwest, and West regions. (See table 7.)

Hires

The number of hires was 5.4 million in December, little changed from November. The number of hires 
is now higher than in December 2007 (5.0 million), the first month of the recession. The hires rate was 
3.7 percent in December 2015. The number of hires was little changed for total private and government 
in December. The number of hires edged up in professional and business services and was little changed 
in all other industries and in the regions. (See table 2.)

Over the 12 months ending in December, the number of hires (not seasonally adjusted) was little 
changed for total nonfarm and total private and edged up for government. At the industry level, hires 
increased in accommodation and food services (+93,000); transportation, warehousing, and utilities 
(+43,000); and federal government (+11,000). Hires edged down in construction. The number of hires 
was little changed in all four regions over the year. (See table 8.)

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 5.1 million total separations in December, little changed from November. The total 
separations rate was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and 
government. In December, total separations edged up in accommodation and food services and in state 
and local government. The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 
3.)

There were 3.1 million quits in December, up from November. The number of quits is now higher than 
in December 2007 (2.8 million), the first month of the recession. The quits rate was 2.1 percent in 
December 2015. The number of quits rose for total private and government over the month. Quits rose 
in state and local government (+20,000) but fell in nondurable goods manufacturing (-25,000). Quits 
increased in the South region over the month. (See table 4.)

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) increased over the 12 months ending in December for 
total nonfarm, total private, and government. Quits increased over the year in several industries with the 
largest changes occurring in professional and business services (+102,000), accommodation and food 
services (+68,000), and retail trade (+58,000). In the regions, quits rose in the South and Midwest. (See 
table 10.)

There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in December, little changed from November. The layoffs 
and discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed over the 
month for total private and unchanged for government. Layoffs and discharges was little changed in all 
four regions. (See table 5.) Seasonally adjusted estimates of layoffs and discharges are not available for 
individual industries.

The number of layoffs and discharges (not seasonally adjusted) decreased over the 12 months ending in 
December for total nonfarm and total private and edged up for government. The number of layoffs and 
discharges rose in mining and logging (+7,000) and fell in construction (-129,000) and retail trade 
(-64,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions over the year. (See 
table 11.)

In December, there were 411,000 other separations for total nonfarm, little changed from November. 
Over the month, the number of other separations was little changed for total private at 343,000 and for 
government at 68,000. (See table 6.) Seasonally adjusted estimates of other separations are not available 
for individual industries or regions.

Over the 12 months ending in December, the number of other separations (not seasonally adjusted) fell 
for total nonfarm and total private and was little changed for government. Other separations increased 
over the year in federal government (+7,000). Other separations decreased in the South region over the 
year. (See table 12.)

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 December 2015, hires totaled 61.4 
million and separations totaled 58.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.6 million. These 
totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
____________
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for January 2016 are scheduled to be 
released on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
|                                  Revisions to the JOLTS Data                                     |
|                                                                                                  |
|With the release of January 2016 data on March 17, the BLS will revise the job openings, hires,   |
|and separations data to incorporate the annual updates to the Current Employment Statistics       |
|employment estimates and the JOLTS seasonal adjustment factors. Unadjusted data and seasonally    |
|adjusted data from December 2000 forward are subject to revision. Also effective with the release |
|of January data, all data series will be available on a seasonally adjusted basis.                |
|__________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: February 09, 2016