The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of November 30, 2011, there were 3.2 million job openings nationwide with a 3.2 percent hiring rate and a 3 percent separations rate, all of which remained largely unchanged from October’s statistics. The nonfarm sector has experienced an increasing job openings rate since the economic recession officially ended in June 2009. Despite the upward trend, the number of job openings lags behind the 4.4 million openings reported in December 2007; the official beginning of the recent recession.
However, the number of current openings is over 30 percent higher than those available at the end of the recession and about 1 million openings higher than in July 2009. While the overall rate of job openings increased over the year, the federal government, financial and insurance, and professional and business services sectors all reported decreases in available jobs. Regionally, the West saw a drop in available jobs since November 2010, while the South and Midwest experienced a rate increase during the same period.
The November hires rate of 3.2 percent represents 4.1 million hires during the month, increased from 3.6 million a year earlier, though below the December 2007 pre-recession number of 5 million hires. The hires rate remained the same for the year in all but the arts, entertainment and recreation industries, and no geographic region saw a significant increase or decline over the year.
Total separations over the year, including voluntary and involuntary separations and retirements, went unchanged in all nonfarm sectors. Since January 2010 to November 2011, voluntary job quits rose by half a million from 1.5 million to 2 million; still well below the December 2010 statistic of 2.8 million quits. Layoffs for November 2011 numbered 1.7 million and were virtually stagnant over the year; though layoffs increased in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industries.