Job Openings Were Down at the End of 2019

The number of job openings fell to 6.4 million (-364,000) on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.7 million, respectively.

Within separations, the quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate were unchanged at 2.3 percent and 1.2 percent respectively.

On the last business day of December, the job openings level fell to 6.4 million (-364,000), and the job openings rate decreased to 4.0 percent. Over the year, the job openings level declined by 14.9 percent.

The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in December. The hires rate was little changed at 3.9 percent. The hires level increased in accommodation and food services (+69,000). The number of hires increased in the West region.

Total separations include 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 include separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

In December, the number of total separations was little changed at 5.7 million and the rate was little changed at 3.8 percent.

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