Related BLS programs | Related articles
November 2004, Vol. 127, No.11
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey: what initial data show
Kelly A. Clark
Data on job openings and labor turnover are useful in understanding the U.S. labor market, the business cycle, and the economy in general. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) began publishing such estimates in July 2002. These data include a measure of unmet labor demand, which complements the broadest measure of excess labor supply, the unemployment rate, and yields a more complete picture of the labor market. Hires and separations, measures of labor turnover, track labor market movements over the course of the business cycle and allow individual businesses to compare their own turnover rates with the national rates.
This article provides an overview of the estimates from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).1 It briefly describes the JOLTS program, highlights what job openings and labor turnover data reveal about the labor market and the economy, and compares and contrasts the JOLTS series with other comparable data series to understand and, in part, validate movements in the JOLTS data. Ongoing and future uses for these valuable new data series are also discussed.
The JOLTS program
BLS has collected both job openings and turnover information in several different surveys during the past 50 years. However, these surveys were short-lived due to budget cuts, and the scope was limited to certain industries or States. The current JOLTS program began in 1999 as a comprehensive survey of job openings, hires, and separations at a time when new data were needed to allow further analysis into the U.S. labor market and movements in the economy.2
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 2004 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (71K)
1 Job openings and labor turnover data, along with a brief analysis, are released monthly in a press release, on the Internet at: http://www.bls.gov/jlt/. Selected data also appear in the Current Labor Statistics department of this publication each month.
2 For additional information about the development of the program, see Kelly Clark and Rosemary Hyson, "New tools for labor market analysis: the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey," Monthly Labor Review, December 2001, pp. 32–37.
Related BLS programs
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)
New tools for labor market analysis: JOLTS—Dec. 2001.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers