Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary


For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, February 7, 2017	USDL-17-0179

Technical information:	(202) 691-5870  •  JoltsInfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/jlt
Media contact:	        (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

                        JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2016

The number of job openings was little changed at 5.5 million on the last business day of December, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were also little 
changed at 5.3 million and 5.0 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed 
at 2.0 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 December, there were 5.5 million job openings, little changed from 
November. The job openings rate was 3.6 percent in December. The number of job openings was little 
changed for total private and decreased for government (-75,000). Job openings increased in other 
services (+50,000) and federal government (+13,000) but decreased in state and local government, 
excluding education (-85,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions. (See 
table 1.)

Hires	

The number of hires was essentially unchanged at 5.3 million in December. The hires rate was 3.6 
percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and decreased for government 
(-38,000). Hires decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-33,000), and in mining 
and logging (-7,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four 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.

There were 5.0 million total separations in December, little changed from November. The total 
separations rate in December was 3.4 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for 
total private and decreased for government (-37,000). Total separations decreased in state and local 
government education (-28,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions. 
(See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.0 million. The quits rate was 2.0 percent. Over 
the month, the number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits decreased 
in state and local government education (-14,000). The number of quits was little changed in all four 
regions. (See table 4.)

There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in December, essentially unchanged 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 decreased for government (-27,000). The layoffs and discharges level 
increased in construction (+75,000) but decreased in health care and social assistance (-46,000), state 
and local government, excluding education (-15,000), and state and local government education 
(-12,000). Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

In December, the number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and 
government as well as in all industries and 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 62.5 million 
and separations totaled 60.1 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 January 2017 are scheduled to be 
released on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

  ______________________________________________________________________________________________
 |                                                                                             |
 |                            Revisions to the JOLTS Data                                      |
 |                                                                                             |
 | With the release of January 2017 data on March 16, 2017, 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 2012 forward are subject to revision.             |
 |_____________________________________________________________________________________________|

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Last Modified Date: February 07, 2017