Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, July 12, 2016	USDL-16-1454

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                              JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – MAY 2016

The number of job openings decreased to 5.5 million on the last business day of May, the U.S. Bureau 
of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and separations were both little changed at 5.0 million. Within 
separations, the quits rate was 2.0 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 decreased in May by 345,000 to 5.5 million. The prior 3-month average change in job 
openings was +80,000. The job openings rate in May 2016 was 3.7 percent. The number of job openings 
decreased for total private and was little changed for government. Job openings decreased in a number 
of industries, with the largest changes occurring in wholesale trade (-104,000), other services (-98,000), 
and real estate and rental and leasing (-53,000). In the regions, job openings decreased in the South and 
the Midwest. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.0 million in May. The hires rate was 3.5 percent. The 
number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires were little changed in all 
industries and in all regions in May. (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 May, little changed from April. The total separations rate in 
May was 3.4 percent. The number of total separations was little changed over the month for total private 
and for government. In May, total separations decreased in state and local government education 
(-17,000) and in federal government (-8,000). The number of total separations was little changed over 
the month in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in May at 2.9 million. The quits rate was 2.0 percent. Over the 
month, the number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. By industry, quits 
increased in educational services (+17,000). The number of quits increased in the Northeast region. (See 
table 4.)

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in May, little changed from April. 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. Layoffs and discharges declined in state and local government 
education (-15,000) and in mining and logging (-9,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little 
changed over the month in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government in 
May. Other separations increased in professional and business services (+29,000) and in educational 
services (+4,000). Other separations decreased in information (-6,000) and in federal government 
(-5,000). Other separations were little changed over the month in all four regions. (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 May, hires totaled 62.3 million and 
separations totaled 59.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.5 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 June 2016 are scheduled to be released 
on Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: July 12, 2016