More Numbers from the U.S. Labor Department
July 11, 2012 1:02 pm
Yesterday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report for the month of May. The good news is that slightly more people are quitting their jobs since June 2009 — the date at which the Labor Department marks the end of the recession. Quits are usually seen as a sign of economic recovery, as folks quit jobs presumably for better-paying ones, at the same time opening up opportunities for others. The bad news is that despite slight increases in quits and openings, hires are holding at a steady 3.3 percent, while layoffs in some industries are actually increasing.
May job openings ticked slightly up from 3.4 million in April to 3.6 million. The kind of jobs with the most increases in opening were in the manufacturing, federal government, and state and local government sectors. Job openings increased overall during the year ending in May for several industries — particularly in the Northeast and South regions.
In the section entitled “Separations,” there are more salient numbers that portray May’s job market in actuality. Separations as defined by the report include quits, which are voluntary separations and “serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs,” as well as layoffs and discharges. While quits went up, so did layoffs — from 1.3 percent in April to 1.4 in May (seasonally adjusted).
So what does this mean for the millions of unemployed or underemployed Americans? Trends show that unfortunately, the majority of us who have jobs are holding on for dear life, while those of us who are scouring classified sections for any work are not being hired any faster than before.
According to the report, the program “covers all private non-farm establishments such as factories, offices, and stores, as well as federal, state, and local government entities in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.”
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