From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
On the last business day of March, job openings in the U.S. numbered 2.7 million. The job openings level and rate (2.0 percent) were at their lowest points since the series began over 8 years ago. The hires rate (3.1 percent) was little changed in March and remained low. The total separations rate (3.6 percent) was unchanged in March.
The number of job openings has trended downward since mid- 2007, and, at 2.7 million in March, monthly openings were down 2.1 million, or 44 percent, since the most recent high point in June 2007.
Over the 12 months ending in March, the job openings rate fell significantly in nearly every industry and in three of the four regions. The rate did not change significantly in the Northeast region and in construction; information; other services; and federal government.
Hires, at 4.2 million in March, were essentially unchanged from February. However, monthly hires were down 1.5 million, or 26 percent, since the most recent high point in July 2006. The hires rate was 3.1 percent in March. No industry experienced a significant change in the hires rate over the month. Regionally, the rate changed significantly only in the Northeast, where it fell.
Over the 12 months ending in March, the hires rate did not increase significantly in any industry. The rate decreased significantly over the year for total nonfarm, total private, and many industries, including mining and logging; finance and insurance; professional and business services; health care and social assistance; arts, entertainment, and recreation; accommodation and food services; and state and local government. Regionally, the hires rate dropped significantly over the past 12 months in the South and West. The rate did not change significantly in the Midwest and Northeast.
Total separations includes quits (voluntary separations), layoffs and discharges (involuntary separations), and other separations (including retirements). The total separations, or turnover, rate (seasonally adjusted) was 3.6 percent in March, unchanged from February. The total separations rate (not seasonally adjusted) was also essentially unchanged over the 12 months ending in March, as quits fell while layoffs and discharges rose.
The quits rate can serve as a barometer of workers’ willingness or ability to change jobs. The rate remained at 1.4 percent in March—the lowest point in the 8-year series. Quits have been trending downward since December 2006, declining by 1.3 million, or 42 percent. Comparing March 2009 to March 2008, the quits rate was significantly lower for total nonfarm, total private, government, and many industries, including durable goods manufacturing; nondurable goods manufacturing; retail trade; finance and insurance; professional and business services; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services. The rate did not rise significantly in the past 12 months in any industry. Regionally, the quits rate fell significantly over the past 12 months in all four regions.
In the 12 months ending in March, hires totaled 54.6 million and separations totaled 58.9 million, yielding a net employment loss over the year of 4.3 million. The loss resulted from total separations remaining relatively level over the year, while hires trended downward.