Workplace Trends

U.S. Job Openings Report Registers Drop in April as Employers Remain Cautious

By Lee Hecht Harrison on June 29, 2012

The number of job openings in April 2012 was 3.4 million, a decline from 3.7 million in March 2012 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week.  Although the number of job openings was down in April, it was still up 1.0 million from the end of the recession in June 2009.  The decline in April may indicate employers are still cautious about adding workers due to the financial crisis in Europe and a reduction in exports and imports over the past few months.

Monthly openings decreased or remained the same in all industry categories with the greatest losses in manufacturing (2.5 percent in March 2012 to 2.0 percent in April 2012) and professional and business services (4.2 percent in March 2012 to 3.7 percent in April 2012), followed by retailers (2.4 percent in March 2012 to 2.1 percent in April 2012) and government agencies (1.7 percent in March 2012 to 1.5 percent in April 2012).

Source: BLS

The BLS released the following job openings and labor turnover statistics from the month of April –

  • Job Openings Level:  3,416,000 in April 2012 down from 3,741,000 in March 2012, but up from 3,014,000 in April 2011.
  • Job Openings Rate: 2.5% in April 2012 down from 2.7% in March 2012, but up from 2.2% in April 2011.
  • Hires Rate: 3.1% in April 2012 down from 3.3% in March 2012, and the same as April 2011.
  • Turnover Rate: 3.1% in April 2012, unchanged from March 2012, up from 2.9% in April 2011.
  • Layoffs / Discharges Rate: 1.3% in April 2012, up from 1.2% in March 2012.
  • Quits Rate: 1.6% for April 2012, the same as February and March of this year.

Some key industries:

  • Construction openings decreased slightly from 92,000 openings in March 2012 (1.6%) to 90,000 (1.6%) in April 2012 (1.6%) with new hires down from 286,000 (5.1%) in March 2012 to 281,000 (5.1%) in April 2012.  Turnover for April was 5.3%, up from 5.1% in March 2012.
  • Education and health services openings decreased from 670,000 (3.2%) in March 2012 to 653,000 (3.1%) in April 2012 with new hires in April totaling 488,000 (2.4%) down from 523,000 (2.6%) the previous month.  Turnover remained unchanged at 2.3%.
  • Leisure and hospitality openings decreased slightly from 431,000 (3.1%) in March 2012 to 428,000 (3.1%) in April 2012 with new hires in April totaling 733,000 (5.4%) down from 795,000 (5.8%) in March 2012.  Turnover decreased from 5.5% in March 2012 to 5.2% in April.
  • Manufacturing openings decreased from 308,000 (2.5%) in March 2012 to 246,000 (2.0%) in April 2012.  Since April of 2011, openings in manufacturing have increased from 1.9% to 2.0% in April 2012.  New hires decreased from 263,000 (2.2%) in March 2012 to 255,000 (2.1%) in April.  Manufacturing turnover decreased from 2.0% in March 2012 to 1.9% in April 2012.
  • Professional and business services openings decreased from 787,000 (4.2%) in March 2012 to 679,000 (3.7%) in April 2012. New hires decreased in this category from 888,000 (5.0%) in March 2012 to 854,000 (4.8%) in April 2012. Turnover decreased from 4.7% to 4.5% month over.

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