U.S. Employment Trends

U.S. Job Openings Fall to 6.9 Million; Hires and Quits Edge Down in November

Job openings fell to 6.9 million on the last business day of November. Over the month, hires edged down to 5.7 million, quits edged down to 3.4 million, and total separations were little changed at 5.5 million.
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U.S. Job Openings Fall to 6.9 Million; Hires and Quits Edge Down in November

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – NOVEMBER 2018

The number of job openings fell to 6.9 million on the last business day of November, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires edged down to 5.7 million, quits edged down to
3.4 million, and total separations were little changed at 5.5 million. Within separations, the quits rate and
the layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 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.

Job Openings

On the last business day of November, the job openings level fell to 6.9 million (-243,000). The job
openings rate was 4.4 percent. The number of job openings decreased for total private (-237,000) and
was little changed for government. Job openings increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities
(+40,000). The job openings level decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in
other services (-66,000) and construction (-45,000). Job openings fell in the West region. (See table 1.)

Hires

The number of hires edged down to 5.7 million (-218,000) in November. The hires rate was 3.8 percent.
The hires level fell for total private (-236,000) and was little changed for government. Hires increased in
federal government (+8,000) but decreased in professional and business services (-167,000). The
number of hires decreased in the South region. (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 5.5 million in November. The total separations
rate was 3.7 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for
government. Total separations decreased in professional and business services (-122,000) and in
accommodation and food services (-88,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all
four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits edged down in November to 3.4 million (-112,000). The quits rate was 2.3 percent.
The quits level edged down for total private (-122,000) and was little changed for government. Quits fell
in professional and business services (-84,000) and in accommodation and food services (-62,000). The
number of quits was little changed in all four regions. (See table 4.)

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in November at 1.8 million. The layoffs and
discharges rate was 1.2 percent. The layoffs and discharges level was little changed for total private and
for government. Layoffs and discharges increased in educational services (+17,000). The number of
layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations was little changed at 332,000 in November. The other separations
level was little changed for total private and for government. Other separations increased in arts,
entertainment, and recreation (+5,000) and in federal government (+4,000), but decreased in
professional and business services (-22,000). The number of other separations increased in the Northeast
region, but decreased in the Midwest and West 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 November, hires totaled 68.0 million
and separations totaled 65.6 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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