Job Openings Bounce Back to 5.5 Million

By Roy Maurer Nov 17, 2015

The number of new job openings rose to 5.5 million in September 2015 from 5.3 million the previous month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number of job openings rose to a series high of 5.8 million on the last business day of July.

“Similar to our Leading Indicators of National Employment findings—which show the most positive increases in employment expectations in the service sector—the increases in job openings in the BLS report were highest in industries such as professional and business services, health care and social assistance, and retail trade,” said Jennifer Schramm, SHRM-SCP, manager of workforce trends at the Society for Human Resource Management.

Employers hired 5.0 million people in September, a slight dip from the 5.1 million new hires in August. Over the 12 months ending September 2015, hires totaled 60.9 million and separations totaled 58.2 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.7 million. The number of hires decreased over the last 12 months in educational services (-74,000), finance and insurance (-43,000), and mining and logging (-13,000).

Total separations for the month of September—including quits, layoffs and discharges—stayed the same at 4.8 million. About 2.7 million U.S. workers quit their jobs.

“Even though our members say it is getting harder to fill their open positions that they consider to be of most strategic importance, the quits rate has not changed much recently,” Schramm said. “The quits rate was 1.9 percent for the sixth consecutive month.”

Quits increased over the year in accommodation and food services (+66,000) and durable goods manufacturing (+22,000) and decreased over the year in state and local government (-31,000) and finance and insurance (-24,000).

There were 1.7 million layoffs and discharges in September, little changed from August. Layoffs and discharges decreased over the year in educational services (-17,000) and federal government (-7,000). There were 387,000 additional separations reported due to retirement, death and disability, and company transfers.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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