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Job openings at 3.3 million in October, trending upward in 2011

Job Openings and Labor Turnover – October 2011

There were 3.3 million job openings on the last business day of
October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The hires
rate (3.1 percent) and separations rate (3.0 percent) were little
changed over the month. The job openings rate has trended upward since
the end of the recession in June 2009. (Recession dates are determined
by the National Bureau of Economic Research.) This release includes
estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and
separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by geographic
region.

Job Openings

The number of job openings in October was 3.3 million, essentially
unchanged from 3.4 million in September. (See table 1.) Although the
number of job openings remained below the 4.4 million openings when
the recession began in December 2007, the level in October was 1.2
million higher than in July 2009 (the most recent trough for the
series). The number of job openings has increased 35 percent since the
end of the recession in June 2009.

The number of job openings in October (not seasonally adjusted)
increased over the year for total nonfarm and total private but was
little changed for government. A few industries and 3 out of 4 regions
experienced an increase over the year in the number of job openings.
(See table 5.)

Table A.  Job openings, hires, and total separations by industry, seasonally
adjusted
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   |    Job openings    |       Hires        | Total separations
                   |--------------------------------------------------------------
     Industry      | Oct. | Sept.| Oct. | Oct. | Sept.| Oct. | Oct. | Sept.| Oct.
                   | 2010 | 2011 | 2011p| 2010 | 2011 | 2011p| 2010 | 2011 | 2011p
-------------------|--------------------------------------------------------------
                   |                     Levels (in thousands)
                   |--------------------------------------------------------------
Total..............|2,905 |3,377 |3,267 |3,865 |4,150 |4,040 |3,702 |4,052 |3,932
                   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
 Total private(1)..|2,560 |3,003 |2,907 |3,580 |3,885 |3,782 |3,436 |3,763 |3,646
  Construction.....|   69 |   70 |   93 |  331 |  367 |  320 |  323 |  338 |  309
  Manufacturing....|  193 |  235 |  231 |  259 |  234 |  226 |  266 |  238 |  209
  Trade, trans-    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   portation, and  |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   utilities(2)....|  445 |  561 |  564 |  777 |  778 |  823 |  741 |  782 |  782
   Retail trade....|  272 |  328 |  321 |  545 |  547 |  549 |  527 |  546 |  523
  Professional     |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   and business    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   services........|  575 |  675 |  618 |  730 |  895 |  833 |  709 |  850 |  809
  Education and    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   health ser-     |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   vices...........|  569 |  616 |  602 |  465 |  482 |  464 |  408 |  414 |  436
  Leisure and      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   hospitality.....|  274 |  383 |  366 |  596 |  698 |  670 |  613 |  693 |  639
   Arts, enter-    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    tainment and   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    recreation.....|   27 |   62 |   50 |   87 |  126 |  117 |  106 |  137 |   98
   Accommodation   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    and food       |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    services.......|  247 |  321 |  316 |  508 |  572 |  553 |  507 |  557 |  541
 Government(3).....|  345 |  374 |  360 |  285 |  264 |  258 |  265 |  289 |  287
  State and local  |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   government......|  272 |  312 |  293 |  250 |  237 |  232 |  220 |  255 |  255
                   |--------------------------------------------------------------
                   |                       Rates (percent)
                   |--------------------------------------------------------------
Total..............|  2.2 |  2.5 |  2.4 |  3.0 |  3.2 |  3.1 |  2.8 |  3.1 |  3.0
                   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
 Total private(1)..|  2.3 |  2.7 |  2.6 |  3.3 |  3.6 |  3.5 |  3.2 |  3.4 |  3.3
  Construction.....|  1.2 |  1.3 |  1.7 |  6.0 |  6.6 |  5.8 |  5.9 |  6.1 |  5.6
  Manufacturing....|  1.6 |  2.0 |  1.9 |  2.2 |  2.0 |  1.9 |  2.3 |  2.0 |  1.8
  Trade, trans-    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   portation, and  |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   utilities(2)....|  1.8 |  2.2 |  2.2 |  3.1 |  3.1 |  3.3 |  3.0 |  3.1 |  3.1
   Retail trade....|  1.8 |  2.2 |  2.1 |  3.8 |  3.8 |  3.8 |  3.6 |  3.7 |  3.6
  Professional     |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   and business    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   services........|  3.3 |  3.8 |  3.4 |  4.4 |  5.2 |  4.8 |  4.2 |  4.9 |  4.7
  Education and    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   health ser-     |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   vices...........|  2.8 |  3.0 |  2.9 |  2.4 |  2.4 |  2.3 |  2.1 |  2.1 |  2.2
  Leisure and      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   hospitality.....|  2.1 |  2.8 |  2.7 |  4.6 |  5.3 |  5.0 |  4.7 |  5.2 |  4.8
   Arts, enter-    |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    tainment and   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    recreation.....|  1.4 |  3.1 |  2.6 |  4.6 |  6.6 |  6.2 |  5.6 |  7.2 |  5.1
   Accommodation   |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    and food       |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
    services.......|  2.2 |  2.8 |  2.7 |  4.5 |  5.0 |  4.9 |  4.5 |  4.9 |  4.8
 Government(3).....|  1.5 |  1.7 |  1.6 |  1.3 |  1.2 |  1.2 |  1.2 |  1.3 |  1.3
  State and local  |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |      |
   government......|  1.4 |  1.6 |  1.5 |  1.3 |  1.2 |  1.2 |  1.1 |  1.3 |  1.3
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  1 Includes mining and logging, information, financial activities, and
other services, not shown separately.
  2 Includes wholesale trade and transportation, warehousing, and utilities, not
shown separately.
  3 Includes federal government, not shown separately.
  p = Preliminary

Hires

In October, the hires rate was little changed at 3.1 percent for total
nonfarm. The hires rate was essentially unchanged over the month in
all industries and regions. (See table 2.) The number of hires in
October was 4.0 million, up from 3.6 million in October 2009 (the most
recent trough) but below the 5.0 million hires recorded when the
recession began in December 2007. The number of hires has edged up by
12 percent since the end of the recession in June 2009.

Over the past 12 months, the hires rate (not seasonally adjusted) was
little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and government. The
hires rate was essentially unchanged over the year in every industry
except finance and insurance where the rate decreased, and real estate
and rental and leasing where the rate increased. The hires rate was
essentially unchanged in all four regions. (See table 6.)

Separations

The total separations figure includes voluntary quits, involuntary
layoffs and discharges, and other separations, including retirements.
Total separations is also referred to as turnover.

The seasonally adjusted total separations rate was little changed in
October for total nonfarm, total private, and government. (See table
3.) Over the year, the total separations rate (not seasonally
adjusted) was little changed for total nonfarm, total private, and
government. (See table 7.)

The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or
ability to change jobs. In October, the quits rate was unchanged for
total nonfarm, total private, and government. (See table 4.) The
number of quits rose from 1.5 million in January 2010 (the most recent
trough) to 1.9 million in October, although it remained below the 2.8
million recorded when the recession began in December 2007.

The number of quits (not seasonally adjusted) in October 2011 was
little changed from 12 months earlier for total nonfarm, total
private, and government. Two industries experienced an over-the-year
change—mining and logging, and wholesale trade—where the number of
quits increased from October 2010. (See table 8.)

The layoffs and discharges component of total separations is
seasonally adjusted only at the total nonfarm, total private, and
government levels. The layoffs and discharges rate was essentially
unchanged in October 2011 for total nonfarm, total private, and
government. The number of layoffs and discharges for total nonfarm was
1.6 million in October, down from a peak of 2.5 million in February
2009, and below the 1.8 million layoffs and discharges at the start of
the recession in December 2007. (See table B.)

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) for total
nonfarm, total private, and government was little changed over the 12
months ending in October 2011. Over the year, the number of layoffs
and discharges declined for durable goods manufacturing, nondurable
goods manufacturing, and finance and insurance. The number of layoffs
and discharges was little changed over the year in all four regions.
(See table 9.)

Table B.  Layoffs and discharges by industry, seasonally adjusted
--------------------------------------------------------------------
                   | Levels (in thousands) |    Rates (percent)
                   |------------------------------------------------
     Industry      |  Oct. |  Sept.|  Oct. |  Oct. |  Sept.|  Oct.
                   |  2010 |  2011 |  2011p|  2010 |  2011 |  2011p
-------------------|------------------------------------------------
Total..............| 1,635 | 1,723 | 1,601 |  1.3  |  1.3  |  1.2
 Total private.....| 1,534 | 1,605 | 1,494 |  1.4  |  1.5  |  1.4
 Government........|   102 |   117 |   106 |  0.5  |  0.5  |  0.5
--------------------------------------------------------------------
  p = Preliminary

The other separations series is not seasonally adjusted. In October
2011, there were 356,000 other separations for total nonfarm, 315,000
for total private, and 41,000 for government. Compared to October
2010, the number of other separations was up for total nonfarm and
total private, but the same for government. (See table 10.)

Relative Contributions to Separations

The total separations level is influenced by the relative contribution
of its three components—quits, layoffs and discharges, and other
separations. Other separations is historically a very small portion of
total separations; it has rarely been above 10 percent of total
separations. The percentage of total separations attributable to the
individual components has varied over time at the total nonfarm level,
but for the majority of the months since the series began in December
2000, the proportion of quits has exceeded the proportion of layoffs
and discharges. For most of the months between November 2008 and
November 2010, however, the proportion of layoffs and discharges was
equal to or greater than the proportion of quits. Since November 2010,
the series have returned to their historical pattern. In October 2011,
the proportion of quits for total nonfarm was 49 percent, and the
proportion of layoffs and discharges was 41 percent. (See table C.)

Table C.  Quits and layoffs and discharges as a percentage of total separations, seasonally adjusted
(Levels in thousands)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   |                       Quits                      |             Layoffs and discharges
                   | ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   |      Oct.      |      Sept.     |      Oct.      |      Oct.      |      Sept.     |      Oct.
                   |      2010      |      2011      |      2011p     |      2010      |      2011      |      2011p
     Industry      | ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   |       |Portion |       |Portion |       |Portion |       |Portion |       |Portion |       |Portion
                   | Level |of total| Level |of total| Level |of total| Level |of total| Level |of total| Level |of total
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total..............| 1,755 |   47%  | 2,000 |   49%  | 1,934 |   49%  | 1,635 |   44%  | 1,723 |   43%  | 1,601 |   41%
 Total private.....| 1,654 |   48%  | 1,884 |   50%  | 1,817 |   50%  | 1,534 |   45%  | 1,605 |   43%  | 1,494 |   41%
 Government........|   101 |   38%  |   116 |   40%  |   117 |   41%  |   102 |   38%  |   117 |   40%  |   106 |   37%
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  p = Preliminary

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout
the business cycle. Over the 12 months ending in October 2011, hires
totaled 48.1 million and separations totaled 46.8 million, yielding a
net employment gain of 1.3 million. These figures include workers who
may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

____________
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey results for November 2011
are scheduled to be released on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 10:00
a.m. (EST). Scheduled release dates for 2012 are as follows:
     
               Dec.  — Feb. 7       June  — Aug. 7
               Jan.  — March 13     July  — Sept. 11
               Feb.  — April 10     Aug.  — Oct. 10
               March — May 8        Sept. — Nov. 6
               April — June 19      Oct.  — Dec. 11
               May   — July 10



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