Private-Sector Job Openings and Quits Remain Elevated

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the total number of job openings in the economy fell to 11.266 million in February, down from 11.283 million in January. The number of open positions in the private sector decreased to 10.185 million in February, down 50,000 from 10.235 million in January (see first chart). Both remain at very high levels.

The total job openings rate, openings divided by the sum of jobs plus openings, was unchanged at 7.0 percent in February while the private-sector job-openings rate held at 7.4 percent (see first chart).

Two industry categories have more than 2.0 million openings each: education and health care (2.226 million) and professional and business services (2.088 million). Trade, transportation, and utilities (1.863 million), and Leisure and hospitality (1.705 million) are both above 1 million.

The highest openings rates were in leisure and hospitality (9.9 percent), professional and business services (8.7 percent), education and health care (8.5 percent), transportation, and utilities, trade (6.2 percent), and manufacturing (6.0 percent), and all are all above the pre-lockdown-recession private-sector peak of 5.1 percent (see second chart). Among the private-sector industry groups, only construction (4.8 percent) is below 5.1 percent.

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