Employment

U.S. Job Openings Reach a High of 7.1 Million

Job openings reached a series high of 7.1 million on the last business day of August. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.7 million, respectively.
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U.S. Job Openings Reach a High of 7.1 Million

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – AUGUST 2018

The number of job openings reached a series high of 7.1 million on the last business day of August, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little
changed at 5.8 million and 5.7 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at
2.4 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.2 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 August, the job openings level reached a series high of 7.1 million. The job
openings rate was 4.6 percent. The number of job openings was little changed for total nonfarm, total
private, and government. Job openings increased in federal government (+15,000). The number of job
openings was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires in August reached a series high of 5.8 million. The hires rate was 3.9 percent. The
number of hires was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. Hires were little
changed in all industries and 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 5.7 million in August. The total separations rate
was 3.8 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government.
Total separations increased in state and local government education (+20,000). Total separations was
little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in August at 3.6 million. The quits rate was 2.4 percent. The
number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits increased in wholesale
trade (+24,000) but decreased in professional and business services (-82,000). The number of quits was
little changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

The number of layoffs and discharges edged up to 1.8 million in August (+176,000). The layoffs and
discharges rate was 1.2 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges edged up for total private
(+158,000) and was little changed for government. Layoffs and discharges increased in professional and
business services (+117,000) and in state and local government education (+20,000), but decreased in
health care and social assistance (-35,000). The number of layoffs and discharges increased in the West
region. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in August at 332,000. The other separations level
was little changed for total private and unchanged for government. Other separations increased in real
estate and rental and leasing (+8,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+5,000), but decreased
in professional and business services (-31,000). The number of other separations increased in the
Northeast region but decreased in the Midwest region. (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 August, hires totaled 67.0 million and
separations totaled 64.7 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.



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