Job openings flat, fewer people quitting

There were 3.1 million job openings on the last business day of June – essentially unchanged from May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. But for every job opening there are 4.5 unemployed people.

The number of job openings has been relatively flat since February 2011 and remains well below the 4.4 million openings when the recession began in December 2007, according to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover June report.

Since last June, there have been increases in job openings in the areas of mining and logging, retail trade, professional and business services and health care and social assistance.

But job openings decreased during the year for federal government. The report noted that comparisons for federal government are affected by last year’s elevated numbers of job openings, hires and separations of temporary workers needed to conduct the 2010 Census.

Those workers who do have jobs are staying put. In June, there were 1.9 million quits reported, compared to the start of the recession in December 2007 when there were 2.8 million quits reported. Typically, there are more quits when there is a perception that there are more jobs available. The quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs, the report said. But, since November 2010, layoffs and discharges outnumbered quits.

The layoffs and discharges level (not seasonally adjusted) declined during the 12 months ending in June for government. The level decreased over the year for federal government, returning to a more typical level after a large number of layoffs in June 2010 of temporary Census workers. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions over the year.

To see the full report, click here.