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Job Openings, Hires, Turnover Change Little from September to October

Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary [1]The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS [2]) reported 4.8 million job openings in the U.S. as of the last day of October 2014, up slightly from the 4.7 million reported at the end of September [3], but overall things changed little month-over-month, according to the October 2014 Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary [4] released Tuesday.

The job openings rate, which is the number of job openings on the last business day of the month as a percentage of total job openings, was unchanged from September to October at 3.3 percent, according to BLS. The quits rate and layoffs and discharges rate both remained unchanged from September to October at 1.9 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

The level of hires in the U.S. remained unchanged in October from the previous month at 5.1 million, maintaining the August-to-September increase from 4.7 million and holding steady at its highest rate since December 2007, according to the BLS. The hires rate was also unchanged in October at 3.6 percent. While the number of hires changed little month-over-month in October for private sector and government jobs, the number increased for retail trade jobs.

The number of total separations, or turnover, which includes quits, layoffs, and discharges, came in at 4.8 million for October, unchanged from September, according to the BLS. The separations rate, which is defined as the number of total separations during a month as a percentage of total employment, was little changed from September to October at 3.5 percent. Separations, or turnover, include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations which may include death, disability, retirement, or transfers to other locations within the same company.

The number of quits, which are voluntary separations initiated by an employee, remained unchanged month-over-month in October at 2.7 million, with a quits rate of 1.9 percent, according to BLS. Total quits increased in retail trade but remained little changed in October in total private and government. Over the 12-month period ending October 31, 2014, the quits level increased in total nonfarm, total private, and government jobs, and also increased in three out of the four regions (Northeast, South, and West), BLS reported.

The number of layoffs and discharges, which are involuntary separations initiated by the employer, was reported at 1.7 million for October (rate of 1.2 percent), little changed from September, according to BLS. For the 12-month period ending in October, the layoffs and discharges level was little changed overall, but increased for total private jobs, decreased for government jobs, and increased in nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation/warehousing/utilities; and professional/business services, according to BLS.

BLS reported there were 405,000 other types of separations in October, little changed from the previous month. For the 12-month period ending October 31, 2014, the number of other separations increased for many industries, including retail trade and professional/business services, while the amount of other separations declined for the finance and insurance industries, according to BLS.

For the 12-month period ending October 31, 2014, BLS reported a net gain in employment of 2.6 million, meaning there were 2.6 million more hires (57.2 million) than there were separations (54.5 million) in the U.S. during that time frame.