Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, April 5, 2016	USDL-16-0697

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – FEBRUARY 2016

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.4 million on the last business day of February, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires increased to 5.4 million while separations were 
little changed at 5.1 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 5.4 million in February. The job openings rate was 3.7 percent. The 
number of job openings was little changed in February for total private and for government. Job 
openings increased in educational services (+48,000) and federal government (+19,000) but decreased in 
health care and social assistance (-147,000), finance and insurance (-54,000), and mining and logging 
(-8,000). Job openings edged up in construction (+36,000) and edged down in durable goods 
manufacturing (-19,000). The number of job openings edged down in the Midwest region. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires increased to 5.4 million (+297,000) in February, the highest level since November 
2006. The hires rate in February was 3.8 percent. The number of hires increased for total private 
(+278,000) and was little changed for government. Hires increased in retail trade (+102,000), 
accommodation and food services (+78,000), educational services (+44,000), and state and local 
government, excluding education (+25,000). Hires declined in mining and logging (-9,000). In the 
regions, hires increased in the South. (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 5.1 million total separations in February, little changed from January. The total separations 
rate in February was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and 
for government. Total separations rose in accommodation and food services (+98,000). In arts, 
entertainment, and recreation, total separations edged down (-31,000). The number of total separations 
was little changed over the month in all regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in February at 3.0 million. The quits rate was 2.1 percent. Over 
the month, the number of quits edged up for total private (+107,000) and was little changed for 
government. Quits increased in health care and social assistance (+32,000) and decreased in mining and 
logging (-8,000). The number of quits edged up in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+10,000) and 
edged down in other services (-29,000) and state and local education (-7,000). In the regions, quits 
increased in the Midwest. (See table 4.)

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in February, little changed from January. 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 February, layoffs and discharges decreased in arts, 
entertainment, and recreation (-41,000) and federal government (-6,000). Layoffs and discharges edged 
up in accommodation and food services (+58,000). The number of layoffs and discharges edged down in 
the Midwest. (See table 5.)

In February, other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, edged down for total private 
(-44,000), and edged up for government (+8,000). The number of other separations increased in retail 
trade (+31,000), nondurable goods manufacturing (+5,000), mining and logging (+3,000), and federal 
government (+3,000). Other separations decreased in health care and social assistance (-29,000), finance 
and insurance (-14,000), transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-10,000), real estate and rental and 
leasing (-8,000), and information (-6,000). In the regions, the number of other separations declined in 
the Northeast. (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 February, hires totaled 62.1 million 
and separations totaled 59.4 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.7 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 March 2016 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: April 05, 2016