Midwest Job Openings and Hiring Activity – December 2015

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released December 2015 figures from its Job Openings & Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which tracks job openings, hires, and separations (quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations including retirement).

The seasonally adjusted ratio of unemployed persons per job opening – an indication of labor market activity and competitiveness – held steady at 1.4 candidates per job opening in the Midwest in December. This is down from a ratio of 1.7 a year ago and maintains the lowest ratio in more than a decade. The U.S. ratio decreased slightly to 1.4 in December.


Midwest hiring improved by 8 percent year-over-year, reaching 1.27 million new hires in December 2015. Nationally, hiring activity grew by 2 percent in the same time period.


The quit rate, which reflects the share of employees who left voluntarily (except retirements or transfers), is highly correlated with wage growth. Employees tend to quit and switch jobs at a higher rate during periods of economic growth. The Midwest’s quit rate reached 2.2, up notably from 1.7 a year ago, and the highest December rate since at least 2000.

This data reflects the most recent BLS revisions. The full press release and data can be found on the BLS website.

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WBC’s “Economic Briefs” track indicators from month to month to gauge the strength of several aspects of Chicago’s economy, including unemployment, population, venture capital, job openings and new hires, home sales, tourism, etc. This data provides a clear analytic framework for specific Plan strategies and initiatives. For a summary of these and other economic indicators, refer to WBC’s monthly Chicago By The Numbers.