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The Labor Market Gets a JOLT (Job Openings and Labor Turnover)

Hiring is up, according to the September Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. This monthly survey measures labor market strength by providing information on hires, fires, and quits.  During the height of the recession, we saw nearly seven job seekers for every one job opening.  As the economy’s improved, that number has dropped substantially to just under two job seekers for every one job opening.

Five million people also got a new job in September, the highest number since 2007. Hiring still has some distance to cover to get back to its pre-recession peak but is making steady progress toward a full recovery.

Stronger hiring helps explain the good news in another key labor market indicator, voluntary quits.  A large number of workers voluntarily quitting their job is a sign of a strong labor market, one where workers who want to move on from the job they are in are confident they will be able to find a new job that pays better and more closely matches their skills and interests. In this recovery, the number of voluntary quits has been steadily rising; in Sept., 2.8 million workers voluntarily quit their job, the highest number since early 2008.  While we have more work to do, this is a big step in the right direction.

Quits show a substantial jump in September

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

© Copyright 2020 U.S. Department of LaborNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 320
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The Department of Labor (DOL) fosters and promotes the welfare of the job seekers, wage earners, and retirees of the United States by improving their working conditions, advancing their opportunities for profitable employment, protecting their retirement and health care benefits, helping employers find workers, strengthening free collective bargaining, and tracking changes in employment, prices, and other national economic measurements. In carrying out this mission, the Department administers a variety of Federal labor laws including those that guarantee workers’ rights to safe and...

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