The BLS JOLTS report for February shows little change from January.

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.5 million and 5.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.2 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed 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.

Hires and Separations

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Job Openings

On the last business day of February, there were 6.1 million job openings, little changed from January. The job openings rate was 3.9 percent in February. The number of job openings edged down for total private and was little changed for government. Job openings increased in finance and insurance (+69,000) and state and local government education (+31,000). Job openings decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases being in accommodation and food services (-91,000), construction (-56,000), and wholesale trade (-38,000). The number of job openings decreased in the West region.

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.5 million in February. The hires rate was 3.7 percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires decreased in educational services (-48,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.

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 5.2 million in February. The total separations rate was 3.5 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government. Total separations increased in federal government (+9,000) but decreased in state and local government education (-17,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions.

The number of quits was little changed at 3.2 million in February. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits decreased in other services (-41,000). The number of quits was little changed in all four regions.

What to Watch

Most of the fluctuations are random noise. The next sustained move lower is likely to be significant.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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