Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)

Purpose/uses

Data serve as demand-side indicators of labor shortages at the national level. Availability of unfilled jobs—the job openings rate—is an important measure of job market dynamics that complements measures of unemployment.

Design basics

Data from a sample of approximately 16,000 U.S. business establishments are collected on a voluntary basis. The sample frame consists of approximately UI million establishments on the BLS' ES-202 QCEW file. Reference periods for total employment is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month; for job openings, it is the last business day of the month; for hires and separations, it is the entire calendar month.

Frequency

Data tables are released monthly.

Unit level

Establishment

Coverage

The survey covers all nonagricultural industries in the public and private sectors for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Content

Total employment, job openings, hires, quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations.

Limitations or lag time

Data available only on a national level. No turnover rates by occupation.

Accessibility of data

Data are disseminated in a news release and through updated tables on the BLS website.

BLS AND U.S. CENSUS BUREAU

Current Population Survey (CPS)

Purpose/uses

Provides information on the labor force characteristics of the U.S. population. Data are used to calculate total employment (by occupation) and unemployment statistics. Used as sample frame for ATUS. Used to produce supplements on displaced workers, job tenure and occupational mobility. CPS data have also been used to construct the KIEA (1996 to 2004), a measure of business creation defined as the percentage of nonbusiness owners who started a business each month.

Design basics

Uses a household-based (from the Census Bureau) sampling frame and rotating sample design: respondents are in the survey for UI months, out for UI months, and back in for an additional UI months.

Frequency

Monthly, longitudinal panel capability upon matching, 1962 to present (matching is imperfect—annual match rates around 70%).

Unit level

Individual, family, and household

Coverage

Civilian noninstitutionalized population ages 16 and over. Survey size is approximately 60,000 households.

Content

Employment (by occupation and industry), indicators for self-employed, unemployment, business ownership, some characteristics of small business employees, earnings, hours of work, age, sex, race, marital status, and educational attainment. Supplemental questions on school enrollment, income, previous work experience, health, employment benefits, and work schedules.

Limitations or lag time

Record matching over time is imperfect.

Accessibility of data

Microdata are publicly available. Data can be accessed electronically.



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