Job Openings Hit a New Record High in Huge Struggle For Workers

Job openings and openings vs hires both hit new record highs.
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Job Openings, Hires, Separations 2021-04

Job Openings and Labor Turnover 

The BLS JOLTs Report shows record number of opening in April.

Key Points

The number of job openings reached a series high of 9.3 million on the last business day of April, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires were little changed at 6.1 million. Total separations increased to 5.8 million. Within separations, the quits rate reached a series high of 2.7 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate decreased to a series low of 1.0 percent. 

Openings

  • On the last business day of April, the job openings level and rate increased to series highs of 9.3 million (+998,000) and 6.0 percent, respectively. 
  • Job openings increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+349,000), other services (+115,000), and durable goods manufacturing (+78,000). The number of job openings decreased in educational services (-23,000) and in mining and logging (-8,000). 
  • The number of job openings increased in all four regions. 

Hires

  •  In April, the number of hires changed little at 6.1 million. The hires rate was unchanged at 4.2 percent. Hires increased in accommodation and food services (+232,000) and in federal government (+10,000). 
  • Hires decreased in construction (-107,000), durable goods manufacturing (-37,000), and educational services (-32,000). 
  • The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.  

 Separations  

  • Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. 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 increased to 5.8 million (+324,000). The total separations rate was little changed at 4.0 percent. The total separations level increased in retail trade (+116,000) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+60,000). 
  • The quits level and rate increased to series highs of 4.0 million and 2.7 percent, respectively. Quits increased in a number of industries with the largest increases in retail trade (+106,000), professional and business services (+94,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+49,000). 
  • The number of quits increased in the South, Midwest, and West regions. 
  • The number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1.4 million and 1.0 percent, respectively. Both the number and rate reached new series lows. 

Job Openings and Hires

Job Openings and Hires 2021-04

Job Openings Minus Hires 

Job Openings Minus Hires 2021-04

Job openings minus hires hit a second consecutive high in April at 3.2 million and 2.3 million in March. 

The previous high was 1.8 million in November of 2018.

In May of 2020 there were 2.8 million more hires than there were openings. The negative pattern is typical in recessions as the chart shows. 

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