WASHINGTON — The number of job openings was little changed at 9.2 million on the last business day of May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Hires were little changed at 5.9 million. Total separations decreased to 5.3 million.
Within separations, the quits rate decreased to 2.5%. The layoffs and discharges rate, while little changed over the month, hit a series low of 0.9%.
Job openings: On the last business day of May, the job openings level changed little at 9.2 million. The job openings rate was unchanged at 6.0%. Job openings increased in other services (+109,000), state and local government education (+46,000), and educational services (+35,000). The number of job openings decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-80,000); state and local government, excluding education (-56,000); and federal government (-17,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.
Hires: In May, the number and rate of hires changed little at 5.9 million and 4.1%, respectively. Hires decreased in state and local government, excluding education (-56,000) and in federal government (-10,000). The number of hires decreased in the Northeast region.
Separations: Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. 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 because of retirement, death, disability and transfers to other locations of the same firm.
In May, the number and rate of total separations decreased to 5.3 million (-485,000) and 3.7%, respectively. The total separations level decreased in four industries, with the largest decreases in professional and business services (-192,000); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-53,000); and state and local government education (-42,000). Total separations decreased in the South and West regions.
In May, the quits level and rate decreased to 3.6 million and 2.5%, respectively. Quits decreased in a number of industries with the largest decreases in professional and business services (-181,000); transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-46,000); and durable goods manufacturing (-25,000). The number of quits decreased in the Northeast and South regions.
In May, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1.4 million. The rate was also little changed at 0.9%, a series low. The number of layoffs and discharges decreased in educational services (-21,000). Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions.
The number of other separations was little changed in May at 346,000. Other separations decreased in retail trade (-30,000), state and local government education (-12,000), and educational services (-3,000). Other separations increased in health care and social assistance (+22,000). The other separations level was little changed in all four regions.
Net change in employment: Over the 12 months ending in May, hires totaled 73 million and separations totaled 64.8 million, yielding a net employment gain of 8.2 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.
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