Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, July 11, 2017	USDL-17-0959

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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – MAY 2017

The number of job openings decreased to 5.7 million on the last business day of May, the U.S. Bureau 
of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires increased to 5.5 million and separations 
increased to 5.3 million. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.2 percent and the 
layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 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

On the last business day of May, the job openings level decreased to 5.7 million (-301,000). The job 
openings rate was 3.7 percent. The number of job openings decreased for total private (-283,000) and 
was little changed for government. Job openings increased in retail trade (+72,000) and educational 
services (+17,000). Job openings decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases 
occurring in construction (-46,000) and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-45,000). The number 
of job openings decreased in the Midwest region. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires rose to 5.5 million (+429,000) in May. The hires rate was 3.7 percent. The number 
of hires increased for total private (+423,000) and was little changed for government. Hires increased in 
professional and business services (+121,000), other services (+78,000), and educational services 
(+25,000). The number of hires increased in the South region. (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, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

The number of total separations increased to 5.3 million (+251,000) in May. The total separations rate 
was 3.6 percent. Total separations increased for total private (+245,000) and was little changed for 
government. Total separations increased in retail trade (+73,000) but decreased in federal government
(-8,000). The number of total separations rose in the South region. (See table 3.)

The number of quits increased to 3.2 million (+177,000) in May. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The 
number of quits rose for total private (+159,000) and for government (+19,000). Quits increased in a 
number of industries with the largest increases occurring in retail trade (+66,000) and transportation, 
warehousing, and utilities (+20,000). The number of quits decreased in arts, entertainment, and 
recreation (-15,000). The number of quits increased in the South region. (See table 4.)

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in May, little changed from April. The layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.1 percent in May. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for 
total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level increased in professional and business 
services (+77,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions.
(See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in May. Other separations was essentially 
unchanged for total private and for government. Other separations increased in educational services 
(+4,000) but decreased in federal government (-3,000). In all four regions, the number of other 
separations was little changed. (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 63.2 million and 
separations totaled 60.9 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.4 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 June 2017 are scheduled to be released 
on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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Last Modified Date: July 11, 2017