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U.S. Job Openings (6.1 Million), Hires, and Separations Little Changed in February

Job openings were little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of February. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.5 million and 5.2 million, respectively.

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – FEBRUARY 2018

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of February, 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 was unchanged at 
2.2 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed 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 February, there were 6.1 million job openings, little changed from January. 
The job openings rate was 3.9 percent in February. The number of job openings edged down for total 
private and was little changed for government. Job openings increased in finance and insurance 
(+69,000) and state and local government education (+31,000). Job openings decreased in a number of 
industries with the largest decreases being in accommodation and food services (-91,000), construction 
(-56,000), and wholesale trade (-38,000). The number of job openings decreased in the West region. 
(See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.5 million in February. The hires rate was 3.7 percent. The 
number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires decreased in educational 
services (-48,000). 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.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.2 million in February. 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 federal government (+9,000) but decreased in state and local government 
education (-17,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed at 3.2 million in February. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The 
number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits decreased in other 
services (-41,000). The number of quits was little changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

There were 1.6 million layoffs and discharges in February, little changed from January. The layoffs and 
discharges rate was 1.1 percent in February. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for 
total private and unchanged for government. Layoffs and discharges decreased in state and local 
government education (-13,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in the Northeast 
region. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in February at 334,000. The number of other 
separations was little changed for total private and for government. Other separations increased in 
federal government (+7,000) but decreased in nondurable goods manufacturing (-6,000). 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 February, hires totaled 65.6 million 
and separations totaled 63.3 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.3 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 March 2018 are scheduled to be 
released on Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

Posted by on April 13, 2018.

Categories: Trends

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