September Job Openings, Hires Little Changed, Quits at a Series High

The number of job openings was little changed at 10.4 million on the last business day of September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires and total separations were little changed at 6.5 million and 6.2 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits level and rate increased to a series high of 4.4 million and 3.0%, respectively. The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class.

Job Openings
On the last business day of September, the number and rate of job openings were little changed at 10.4 million and 6.6%, respectively. Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+141,000); state and local government, excluding education (+114,000); wholesale trade (+51,000); and information (+51,000). Job openings decreased in state and local government education (-114,000); other services (-104,000); real estate and rental and leasing (-65,000); and educational services
(-45,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.

Hires
In September, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 6.5 million and 4.4%, respectively. Hires increased in health care and social assistance (+109,000) and finance and insurance (+60,000). Hires decreased in state and local government education (-92,000) and educational services (-89,000). The number of hires was little changed in all four regions.

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

In September, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 6.2 million and 4.2%, respectively. Total separations decreased in retail trade (-100,000). The total separations level increased in several industries with the largest increases in other services (+87,000); health care and social assistance (+86,000); and finance and insurance (+61,000). Total separations were little changed in all four regions.

The number of quits increased in September to a series high of 4.4 million (+164,000). The quits rate also increased to a series high 3.0%. Quits increased in several industries with the largest increases in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+56,000); other services (+47,000); and state and local government education (+30,000). Quits decreased in wholesale trade (-30,000). The number of quits increased in the West region.

In September, the number of layoffs and discharges was little changed at 1.4 million. The layoffs and discharges rate was unchanged at 0.9%. Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all industries and in all four regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in September at 410,000. Other separations increased in finance and insurance (+41,000); state and local government education (+13,000); and other services (+12,000). Other separations were little changed in all four regions.

Net Change in Employment
Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising.

Over the 12 months ending in September 2021, hires totaled 73.3 million and separations totaled 67.7 million, yielding a net employment gain of 5.6 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class
In September, the job openings rate decreased in large establishments with 250-999 employees. The total separations rate increased in large establishments with 1,000-4,999 employees. For a more in-depth description of the JOLTS establishment size class estimates, please visit www.bls.gov/jlt/sizeclassmethodology.htm.