Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released March 2016 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 – was unchanged from the previous month at 1.3 candidates per job opening in the Midwest in March. This is down from a ratio of 1.4 a year ago and is the lowest March ratio in more than a decade. The U.S. ratio also remained unchanged from the previous month at 1.4 in March.
Midwest hiring improved by 8.1 percent year-over-year, reaching 1.26 million new hires in March 2016. Nationally, hiring activity increased by 3.6 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 increased to 2.2, up from 1.9 a year ago, the highest March rate since 2006.
Note: At the beginning of each calendar year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program revises up to five years of previous data to incorporate new inputs and population data. The data in this brief reflects the LAUS revisions completed on March 17, 2016. Revisions for 2011-2014 data will be completed on April 12, 2016. For more information about these annual revisions, please visit the BLS website. For the full JOLTS press release and data, please visit the BLS website.
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