U.S. Employment Trends

U.S. Job Openings Little Changed at 7.1 Million; Hires Edge Up in October

Job openings were little changed at 7.1 million on the last business day of October. Over the month, hires edged up to 5.9 million nearly matching a series high, while separations were little changed.
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U.S. Job Openings Little Changed at 7.1 Million; Hires Edge Up in October

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – OCTOBER 2018

The number of job openings was little changed at 7.1 million on the last business day of October, the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires edged up to 5.9 million, and
separations were little changed at 5.6 million. Within separations, the quits rate was little changed at 2.3
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 October, the job openings level was little changed at 7.1 million. The job
openings rate was 4.5 percent in October. The number of job openings was little changed for total
private and for government. Job openings increased in information (+45,000), real estate and rental and
leasing (+38,000), educational services (+20,000), and state and local government education (+17,000).
The number of job openings decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-38,000) and
transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-33,000). Job openings were little changed in all four regions.
(See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires edged up to 5.9 million (+196,000) in October, nearly matching its series high in
August. The hires rate was 3.9 percent in October. The number of hires was little changed for total
private and for government. Hires increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+90,000) and
durable goods manufacturing (+43,000), but decreased in mining and logging (-11,000). 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 5.6 million in October. The total separations rate
was 3.7 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government.
Total separations increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+37,000). The number of total
separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed in October at 3.5 million. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The
number of quits was little changed for total private and unchanged for government. Quits increased in
health care and social assistance (+33,000), transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+30,000), and
educational services (+12,000). The number of quits decreased in other services (-39,000). Quits
decreased in the Northeast region. (See table 4.)

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in October at 1.7 million. The layoffs and
discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed for total
private and for government. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all industries
and regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed in October at 351,000. The other separations level
was little changed for total private and for government. Other separations increased in construction
(+18,000). The number of other separations decreased in a number of industries, with the largest
decreases in health care and social assistance (-17,000) and arts, entertainment, and recreation  
(-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 October, hires totaled 67.8 million and
separations totaled 65.3 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.5 million. These totals include
workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.



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