The number of job openings in June was 3.1 million, essentially unchanged from May. Although the number of job openings in June was 997,000 higher than in July 2009 (the series trough), it has been relatively flat since February 2011 and remains well below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007.
The number of job openings in June (not seasonally adjusted) rose from a year earlier for total nonfarm and total private. The number of job openings increased in mining and logging, retail trade, professional and business services, and health care and social assistance. Job openings decreased over the year for federal government. Over the year comparisons for federal government are impacted by last year’s elevated numbers of job openings, hires, and separations of temporary workers needed to conduct the 2010 Census.
In June, the hires rate was about unchanged at 3.1 percent for total nonfarm. The hires rate was also essentially unchanged for all industries and regions. At 4.1 million in June, the number of hires is up from 3.6 million in October 2009 (the series trough) but remains below the 5.0 million hires when the recession began in December 2007.
Over the past 12 months, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) rose in construction, information, and accommodation and food services. The hires rate fell in finance and insurance and in federal government over the year.
The total separations figure includes voluntary quits, involuntary layoffs and discharges, and other separations, including retirements. Total separations is also referred to as turnover.
The seasonally adjusted total separations rate was essentially unchanged in June for total nonfarm (3.1 percent), total private (3.4 percent), and government (1.4 percent). Over the year, the total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm and total private but decreased for government.
The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. In June, the quits rate was essentially unchanged for total nonfarm (1.5 percent), total private (1.7 percent), and government (0.5 percent). Although the number of quits rose from 1.5 million in January 2010 (the most recent trough) to 1.9 million in June 2011, the number remained below the 2.8 million quits when the recession began in December 2007.
The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in June 2011 was essentially unchanged from 12 months earlier for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Educational services experienced an increase in the number of quits over the year, while the finance and insurance industry and federal government experienced a decline. In the regions, the number of quits rose in the Midwest but was little changed in the other three regions.
The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is seasonally adjusted only at the total nonfarm, total private, and government levels. The layoffs and discharges rate was little changed in June for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was 1.8 million in June, up slightly from the recent low point of 1.5 million in January 2011, but still well below the peak of 2.5 million in February 2009.
The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) declined over the 12 months ending in June for government. The level decreased over the year for federal government, returning to a more typical level after a large number of layoffs in June 2010 of temporary Census workers. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions over the year.
The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In June, there were 394,000 other separations for total nonfarm, 259,000 for total private, and 135,000 for government. Compared to June 2010, the number of other separations was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government.
Relative Contributions to Separations
The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. The percentage of total separations attributable to the individual components has varied over time at the total nonfarm level, but for the majority of the months since the series began in December 2000, the proportion of quits has exceeded the proportion of layoffs and discharges. Other separations is historically a very small portion of total separations; it has rarely been above 10 percent of total separations.
The proportions of quits and layoffs and discharges were last equal in November 2010. Since then, the proportion of quits has trended upward, again exceeding the proportion of layoffs and discharges. In June, the proportion of quits for total nonfarm was 48 percent and the proportion of layoffs and discharges was 45 percent. The proportions were the same for total private with 48 percent quits and 45 percent layoffs and discharges. For government, the proportions were 39 percent quits and 39 percent layoffs and discharges.
Net Change in Employment
Over the 12 months ending in June, not seasonally adjusted data totaled 47.7 million hires and 46.7 million separations, yielding a net employment gain of 1.0 million. These figures include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year. Nearly half of the hires and nearly half of the separations during these 12 months occurred in three industries: retail trade; professional and business services; and accommodation and food services. The large share of total hires and separations accounted for by these three industries reflects the size of the industries as well as their relatively high hires and separations rates.