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Tue Jul 7, 2020, 10:00 AM

BLS Report: Hires increase 2.4 million in May; job openings rise while layoffs and discharges fall

People come; people go.

This is JOLTS, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. It comes out a few days after the monthly payroll employment report.

The number of quits indicates how confident people are of finding another job if they leave the one they have.

Wed Jun 10, 2020: BLS Report: Total separations fall in April to 9.9 million; job openings and hires also fall

Tue May 19, 2020: BLS Report: Total separations increase to a series high; job openings and hires decrease in March

Tue Apr 7, 2020: BLS Report: Job openings at 6.9 million, hires, and separations little changed in February

Tue Mar 17, 2020: BLS Report: Job openings rise to 7.0 million in January; hires and separations little changed

Wed Feb 12, 2020: BLS Report: Job openings fall to 6.4 million in December; hires and separations little changed

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 (a late release): BLS Report: Job openings fall to 6.8 million in November; hires and separations little changed

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Hires increase 2.4 million in May; job openings rise while layoffs and discharges fall

Economic News USDL-20-1348
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Technical information: (202) 691-5870 • JoltsInfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/jlt
Media contact: (202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – MAY 2020

The number of hires increased by 2.4 million to a series high of 6.5 million in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This was the largest monthly increase of hires since the series began. Total separations decreased by 5.8 million to 4.1 million, the single largest decrease since the series began. Within separations, the quits rate rose to 1.6 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate fell to 1.4 percent. Job openings increased to 5.4 million on the last business day of May. These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by four geographic regions.

Job Openings

On the last business day of May, the number of job openings increased to 5.4 million (+401,000) while the rate was little changed at 3.9 percent. Job openings rose in accommodation and food services (+196,000), retail trade (+147,000), and construction (+118,000). Job openings decreased in information (-55,000), federal government (-37,000), and educational services (-27,000). The number of job openings increased in the South region. (See table 1.)
______________________________________________________________________________
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on May 2020 JOLTS Data

Data collection for the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey was affected by the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic. More information is available at the end of this news release and
www.bls.gov/covid19/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-may-2020.htm
______________________________________________________________________________

Hires

In May, the number of hires increased to 6.5 million (+2,440,000) and the rate increased to 4.9 percent, a high for both series. Conversely, hires levels and rates saw series lows in April. In May, the hires level increased for total private (+2,432,000) and was little changed for government. Hires increased in a number of industries, with the greatest rise in accommodation and food services (+763,000), followed by health care and social assistance (+479,000), and construction (+427,000). The number of hires increased in all four regions. (See table 2.)

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.

In May, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 4.1 million (-5,830,000) and 3.1 percent, respectively. The number of total separations in May was 1.5 million lower than the February level. Total separations decreased in many industries in May, with the largest decreases in accommodation and food services (-1,159,000), retail trade (-751,000), and other services (-704,000). The number of total separations increased in federal government (+28,000). Total separations decreased in all four regions. (See table 3.)

In May, the number and rate of quits increased to 2.1 million (+190,000) and 1.6 percent, respectively. Quits rose to 2.0 million (+228,000) for total private and fell to 108,000 (-38,000) for government. Quits increased in accommodation and food services (+88,000), durable goods manufacturing (+38,000), and transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+27,000). Quits decreased in state and local government education (-26,000), state and local government, excluding education (-25,000), and educational services (-22,000). The number of quits increased in the South region. (See table 4.)

The number and rate of layoffs and discharges decreased in May to 1.8 million (-5,912,000) and 1.4 percent, respectively. The rate, which had reached a series high of 7.6 percent in March, is now much closer to the pre-pandemic rate of 1.2 percent in February. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased for total private to 1.7 million (-5,809,000) and for government to 124,000 (-103,000). The layoffs and discharges level decreased in all but one industry. The largest declines occurred in accommodation and food services (-1,251,000), followed by retail trade (-758,000), and other services(-698,000). Layoffs and discharges increased in federal government (+16,000). The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations decreased in May (-108,000). Other separations decreased in professional and business services (-50,000), construction (-30,000), and state and local government, excluding education (-9,000). Other separations decreased in the Midwest region. (See table 6.)

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 May, hires totaled 68.5 million and separations totaled 79.8 million, yielding a net employment loss of 11.3 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
____________
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for June 2020 are scheduled to be released on Monday, August 10, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

____________________________________________________________________________
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) Data Corrections

This news release contains corrections to previously released January 2020 data in tables 1-6. An error
in federal government data affected estimates for government, total nonfarm, and all four regions. More
information on these corrections as well as a complete list of corrections in this news release and in
the JOLTS database can be found at www.bls.gov/bls/errata/corrections-to-job-openings-and-labor-
turnover-survey-estimates-for-january-2020.htm.
____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on May 2020 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data

Data collection for the JOLTS survey was affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. While 42
percent of data are usually collected by phone at the JOLTS data collection center, most phone
respondents were asked to report electronically. However, data collection was adversely impacted due to
the inability to reach some respondents that normally respond by phone. The JOLTS response rate for May
was 45 percent, while response rates prior to the pandemic averaged 54 percent.

BLS modified the JOLTS estimation methods starting in March and continuing through May to better
reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The estimation process usually includes an
alignment of monthly hires minus separations to the over-the-month change in the Current Employment
Statistics (CES) employment estimates. For May estimates, as in earlier months, BLS suspended the
alignment process because the differing reference periods for the CES employment estimates (pay period
including the 12th of the month) and the JOLTS hires and separations estimates (the entire reference
month) led to substantially different measurement outcomes. For more information about the impact of
the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including more information about the JOLTS estimation
methodology, please see www.bls.gov/covid19/job-openings-and-labor-turnover-covid19-may-2020.htm
____________________________________________________________________________________
Table A. Job openings, hires, and total separations by industry, seasonally adjusted
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Technical Note
Table 1. Job openings levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 2. Hires levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 3. Total separations levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 4. Quits levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 5. Layoffs and discharges levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 6. Other separations levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted
Table 7. Job openings levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
Table 8. Hires levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
Table 9. Total separations levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
Table 10. Quits levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
Table 11. Layoffs and discharges levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
Table 12. Other separations levels and rates by industry and region, not seasonally adjusted
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Table of Contents
Last Modified Date: July 07, 2020

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