Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 6, 2018	USDL-18-0204

Technical information:  (202) 691-5870  •  JoltsInfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/jlt
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                         JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2017

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.8 million on the last business day of December, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little 
changed at 5.5 million and 5.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs 
and discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. 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 December, there were 5.8 million job openings, little changed from 
November. The job openings rate was 3.8 percent in December. The number of job openings was little 
changed for total private and for government. Job openings increased in information (+33,000) and 
federal government (+13,000). Job openings decreased in a number of industries with the largest 
decreases occurring in professional and business services (-119,000), retail trade (-85,000), and 
construction (-52,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.5 million in December. The hires rate was 3.7 percent. The 
number of hires was little changed for total private, for government, and in all industries and regions. 
(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 was little changed at 5.2 million in December. The total separations 
rate was 3.6 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for 
government. Total separations increased in state and local government education (+17,000). The number 
of total separations increased in the Midwest region. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed at 3.3 million in December. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The 
number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits decreased in federal 
government (-4,000). The number of quits increased in the Midwest region. (See table 4.)

There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in December, little changed from November. The layoffs 
and discharges rate was 1.1 percent in December. The number of layoffs and discharges was little 
changed for total private and for government. Layoffs and discharges increased in state and local 
government education (+15,000). 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 December at 334,000. The number of other 
separations was little changed for total private and edged down for government. Other separations 
decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-11,000). The number of other 
separations was little changed 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 December, hires totaled 64.7 million 
and separations totaled 62.6 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.2 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 2018 are scheduled to be 
released on Friday, March 16, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
|                                   Revisions to the JOLTS Data                                    |
|                                                                                                  |
|With the release of January 2018 data on March 16, 2018, 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 January 2013 forward are subject to revision.                                  |
|__________________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: February 06, 2018