U.S. Employment Trends

U.S. Job Openings (6.1 Million), Hires, and Separations Little Changed in September

Job openings were little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of September. Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.3 million and 5.2 million, respectively.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – SEPTEMBER 2017

The number of job openings was little changed at 6.1 million on the last business day of September, the 
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were also little 
changed at 5.3 million and 5.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate and the layoffs 
and discharges rate were little changed at 2.2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. 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.

Job Openings

On the last business day of September, there were 6.1 million job openings, little changed from August. 
Job openings have been at or near record high levels since June. The job openings rate was 4.0 percent 
in September. The number of job openings was little changed for total private and for government. Job 
openings increased in professional and business services (+156,000), other services (+52,000), state and 
local government education (+36,000), and federal government (+15,000). Job openings decreased in 
accommodation and food services (-111,000) and information (-28,000). The number of job openings 
was little changed in all four regions. (See table 1.)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________
|                                        Hurricane Irma                                            |
|Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida during September, the reference month for the preliminary |
|estimates in this release. All possible efforts were made to contact and collect data from survey |
|respondents in the hurricane-affected areas. A review of the data indicated that Hurricane Irma   |
|had no discernible effect on the JOLTS estimates for September. For more information, see         |
|www.bls.gov/jlt/jolts-harvey-irma.htm.                                                            |
|__________________________________________________________________________________________________|

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.3 million in September. The hires rate was 3.6 percent. The 
number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. The number of hires was little 
changed in all industries and 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.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.2 million in September. The total separations 
rate was 3.6 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for 
government. Total separations decreased in other services (-73,000) and wholesale trade (-37,000). The 
number of total separations was little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits was little changed at 3.2 million in September. The quits rate was 2.2 percent. The 
number of quits was little changed for total private and for government. Quits rose in professional and 
business services (+82,000) and state and local government, excluding education (+10,000). Quits fell in 
other services (-45,000) and real estate and rental and leasing (-16,000). In the regions, the number of 
quits increased in the Midwest. (See table 4.)

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in September, little changed from August. The layoffs 
and discharges rate was 1.2 percent in September. The number of layoffs and discharges was little 
changed for total private and for government. The layoffs and discharges level decreased in wholesale 
trade (-30,000) and mining and logging (-7,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little 
changed in all four regions. (See table 5.)

The number of other separations edged down in September to 355,000. Other separations edged down 
for total private and was little changed for government. Other separations increased in state and local 
government education (+6,000). Other separations decreased in other services (-18,000), 
accommodation and food services (-13,000), and educational services (-5,000). The number of other 
separations decreased in the South 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 September, hires totaled 63.9 million 
and separations totaled 62.1 million, yielding a net employment gain of 1.8 million. These totals 
include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.



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