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Job Openings Surge to Near Record in October as Quits Rate Dips from September Record

Job openings topped the 11 million mark for the second time, just missing the previous high in July.
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Job Openings, Hires, Separations 2021-10

JOLTS Survey

The number of job openings increased to 11.0 million on the last business day of October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 

Job Openings 

  • On the last business day of October, the number of job openings increased to 11.0 million (+431,000). 
  • The job openings rate was little changed at 6.9 percent. Job openings increased in several industries with the largest increases in accommodation and food services (+254,000); nondurable goods manufacturing (+45,000); and educational services (+42,000). Job openings decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-115,000).

Hires 

  • In October, the number of hires was little changed at 6.5 million. 
  • The hires rate was unchanged at 4.4 percent. 
  • Hires decreased in finance and insurance (-96,000). 
  • Hires increased in educational services (+54,000) and in state and local government education (+37,000). 
  • 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. 

  • In October, the number of total separations edged down to 5.9 million (-255,000).
  • The total separations rate was little changed at 4.0 percent. 
  • Total separations decreased in finance and insurance (-88,000) and in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-64,000). 
  • Total separations increased in state and local government, excluding education (+28,000). 
  • Total separations were little changed in all four regions.  

Quits 

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  • The number of quits decreased in October to 4.2 million (-205,000). 
  • The quits rate decreased to 2.8 percent from a record high 3.0% last month. 
  • Quits decreased in several industries with the largest decreases in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-57,000); finance and insurance (-45,000); and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-33,000). 
  • Quits increased in state and local government, excluding education (+21,000) and in mining and logging (+6,000). 
  • The number of quits was little changed in all four regions.

 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 2021, hires totaled 73.8 million and separations totaled 68.1 million, yielding a net employment gain of 5.7 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.  

Hires Minus Separations

Hires Minus Separations 2021-10

Hires minus separations, especially on a 3-month rolling average basis, shows how strong the jobs recovery has been.

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