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Friday, August 23, 2019
HomeNewsEconomyJOLTS: Job Openings Rise 346K in March to 7.5M, Beating Forecast

JOLTS: Job Openings Rise 346K in March to 7.5M, Beating Forecast

Man reading newspaper with the headline Job Market. (Photo: AdobeStock)
Man reading newspaper with the headline Job Market. (Photo: AdobeStock)
Man reading newspaper with the headline Job Market. (Photo: AdobeStock)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) JOLTS report beat expectations, with the number of job openings rising to 7.5 million on the last business day of March. The consensus forecast was looking for 7.215 million.


Prior InitialPrior RevisedConsensus ForecastForecast RangeActual
Job Openings7.087M7.142M7.215M7.000 M — 7.240M7.488M

In March, hires and separations were little changed at 5.7 million and 5.4 million, respectively.

Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at a low 2.3% and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at a solid 1.1%.

Job Openings

The number of job openings rose +346,000 on the last business day of March, and the job openings rate was 4.7%. Total private job openings rose (+363,000) and government fell slightly.

The largest increases in job openings by industry came in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+87,000), construction (+73,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (+57,000). The number of job openings decreased in federal government (-15,000).

The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.

Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.7 million in March. The hires rate was 3.8 percent. The
hires level was little changed for total private and for government. The number of hires was little
changed in all industries and in all four regions.

Separations

Total separations — including quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations — is referred to as labor turnover.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.4 million in March and the total separations rate was 3.6%. The number of total separations was essentially unchanged in all industries and regions for the private sector. It declined for government (-37,000).

The number of quits was little changed in March at 3.4 million and the quits rate was 2.3%. Quits increased in real estate and rental and leasing (+15,000) but declined in construction (-38,000), which could prove positive for a new housing market signaling a potential comeback.

The number of quits rose in the Northeast but fell in the South.

The number of layoffs and discharges was 1.7 million and the layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1%, little changed in all four regions. The layoffs and discharges level was little changed for total private but down for government (-29,000), including state and local government education (-18,000).

Net Change in Employment

In April, the Employment Situation report found the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 49-year low at 3.6%. Unemployment for Hispanics fell to a new all-time low.

Employment rises when the number of hires exceeds the number of separations. That’s true even if the hires level is steady or declining. On the flip side, employment declines when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, even if the hires level is steady or rising.

Over the 12 months ending in March, hires totaled 69.3 million and separations totaled 66.6 million, a net employment gain of 2.7 million. Totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Written by
Data Journalism Editor

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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