The availability of unfilled jobs - the job opening rate - is an important measure of the tightness of job markets, parallel to existing measures of unemployment.
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) was created to serve as demand-side indicators of labor shortages at the national level.
What is JOLTS?
JOLTS data serves as an economic indicator of the unmet labor demand with which to assess the presence or extent of labor shortages.
Data from a sample of approximately 16,000 U.S. business establishments are collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through the Atlanta JOLTS Data Collection Center.
The JOLTS survey covers all non-agricultural industries in the public and private sectors for the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
JOLTS collects data on total employment, job openings, hires, quits, layoffs & discharges, and other separations.
What do JOLTS Summaries and Data Releases Tell Us?
Releases contain estimates of the number of, and rate of, job openings, hires and separations for the nonfarm industry sectors by industry and by geographic region.
For example, on the last business day of October 2016, hires and separations were also little changed at 5.1 million and 4.9 million, respectively, since the prior month.
Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.1 percent, and the layoffs and discharges rate was also unchanged at 1.0 percent.
On the last business day of October 2016, there were 5.5 million job openings, little changed from September. The job openings rate was 3.7 percent in October 2016. The number of job openings was little changed for total private and for government. Job openings increased in health care and social assistance (+139,000). Job openings decreased in professional and business services (-187,000), federal government (-13,000), and mining and logging
The number of hires was essentially unchanged at 5.1 million in October 2016. The hires rate was 3.5 percent. The number of hires was little changed for total private and for government. Hires decreased in state and local government education (-26,000) and was little changed in all other industries.