A few days ago, the US Department of Labor released its Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary for December 2013. The report says that on the last business day of December, there were around four million job openings in the country. This is very similar to the figure for November.
There was a decline in job openings in the Midwest region during December, while the West experienced an increase in the number of job opportunities during the year.
There was an increase in job openings in the non-farm sector over the course of the year, while government and private sector jobs remained constant. The number of job openings increased over the year in logging and mining; manufacturing of non-durable goods, business services, professional services, wholesale trade, food services and accommodation.
In December, there were 4.4 million hires, which is not significantly different from November’s figures. The number of hires for both the government and private sectors remained essentially unchanged. It also remained constant across industries and regions.
Over the year that ended on December 31, the number of hires changed very little for total government, private and non-farm industries and across regions.
The term “separations” includes layoffs, quits and discharges. The total number of separations is referred to as the “turnover”. Quits are mostly voluntary separations that are initiated by the employee. The quit rate can therefore serve as a good measure of the willingness on the part of workers to leave their jobs for something else.
Discharges and layoffs are involuntary and employers therefore initiate these separations. Other reasons for separations include death, retirement, disability and employees who are transferred to other locations in the same company.
A large number of separations and hires occur on a monthly basis. If the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment increases. This means the employment figure can increase even if hiring remains constant because there might be a drop in separations.
The net difference between hires and separations for 2013 was 1.9 million, which means that 1.9 million job opportunities were created during the year.
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