April 13th, 2011
Econintersect: The BLS Job Opening and Labor Turnover report is used to spot underlying trends in the labor market not necessarily obvious in the monthly jobs report.
There were 3.1 million job openings on the last business day of February 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The job openings rate (2.3 percent) increased over the month. The hires rate (3.0 percent) and total separations rate (2.9 percent) were little changed over the month. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector by industry and by geographic region.
Follow up:In simple English - labor market dynamics have remained in a narrow range for the last five months.
There is an improvement trend underway in job openings, with 350,000 more job openings in February than in January and 570,000 more than February, 2010. There is also a trend of significance in why people are leaving jobs: Layoffs and discharges are down 164,000 vs. February, 2010 and quits are up 194,000.
In February 2010 approximately 50% of job losses were from people quitting. In February 2011 this has increased to 55%.
The data cited above indicates an improvement in job availability over the twelve months combined as well as a lowering of involuntary separations. But when you look at the trend lines for hires and separations in the graphs above it is hard to see the improvement.
Editor's note 1: Econintersect has forecast the dynamics for jobs growth in its monthly forecasts.
Editor's note 2: The specific jobs opening data and the information about voluntary and involuntary job losses were added in an update after a communication from Jeff Miller.