For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Monday, December 11, 2017 USDL-17-1641
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JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – OCTOBER 2017
The number of job openings was little changed at 6.0 million on the last business day of October, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires increased to 5.6 million and
separations were little changed at 5.2 million. 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.
On the last business day of October, there were 6.0 million job openings, little changed from
September. Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. The job openings rate was
3.9 percent in October. The number of job openings edged down for total private and was little changed
for government. Job openings increased in accommodation and food services (+94,000), construction
(+48,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (+40,000). Job openings decreased in wholesale trade
(-90,000), finance and insurance (-47,000), information (-32,000), and nondurable goods manufacturing
(-26,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)
The number of hires increased to 5.6 million in October (+232,000), and the hires rate was 3.8 percent.
The number of hires increased to 5.2 million for total private (+247,000) and was little changed for
government. At the industry level, the number of hires increased in other services (+55,000) and health
care and social assistance (+45,000). Hires decreased for state and local government, excluding
education (-32,000). The number of hires increased in the Northeast region. (See table 2.)
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 October. The total separations rate
was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government.
Total separations increased in finance and insurance (+40,000) and in mining and logging (+11,000).
Total separations decreased in accommodation and food services (-78,000), information (-32,000), and
state and local government, excluding education (-21,000). The number of total separations decreased in
the Northeast region. (See table 3.)
The number of quits was unchanged at 3.2 million in October. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The
number of quits was little changed for total private, for government, and in all industries. In the regions,
the number of quits increased in the South and decreased in the Midwest. (See table 4.)
There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in October, little changed from September. The layoffs
and discharges rate was 1.1 percent in October. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed
for total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level increased in finance and insurance
(+37,000) and in mining and logging (+7,000). Layoffs and discharges decreased in construction
(-69,000) and in state and local government, excluding education (-15,000). The number of layoffs and
discharges decreased in the Northeast region. (See table 5.)
The number of other separations edged up in October to 367,000. Other separations edged up for total
private and was little changed for government. Other separations increased in professional and business
services (+53,000), construction (+20,000), and educational services (+5,000). Other separations
decreased in information (-9,000). The number of other separations increased in the South region. (See
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 October, hires totaled 64.3 million and
separations totaled 62.2 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.1 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 November 2017 are scheduled to be
released on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (EST).