THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- August 2021
The number of job openings declined to 10.4 million on the last business day of August following a 
series high in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Hires decreased to 6.3 million 
while total separations were little changed at 6.0 million. Within separations, the quits rate increased to a 
series high of 2.9 percent while the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 0.9 percent. This 
release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total 
nonfarm sector, by industry, by four geographic regions, and by establishment size class. 
   
Job Openings

On the last business day of August, the number and rate of job openings decreased to 10.4 million        
(-659,000) and 6.6 percent, respectively. Job openings decreased in several industries with the largest 
decreases in health care and social assistance (-224,000); accommodation and food services (-178,000); 
and state and local government education (-124,000). Job openings increased in federal government 
(+22,000). The number of job openings decreased in the Northeast and Midwest regions. (See table 1.)

Hires

In August, the number and rate of hires decreased to 6.3 million (-439,000) and 4.3 percent, 
respectively. Hires decreased in accommodation and food services (-240,000) and in state and local 
government education (-160,000). The number of hires decreased in the Midwest region. (See table 2.)

Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally 
voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of 
workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated 
by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers 
to other locations of the same firm.

In August, the number and rate of total separations were little changed at 6.0 million and 4.1 percent, 
respectively. The total separations level increased in accommodation and food services (+203,000) and 
in state and local government education (+57,000). The total separations level decreased in other 
services (-68,000) and in state and local government, excluding education (-26,000). Total separations 
were little changed in all four regions. (See table 3.)

The number of quits increased in August to 4.3 million (+242,000). The quits rate increased to a series 
high of 2.9 percent. Quits increased in accommodation and food services (+157,000); wholesale trade 
(+26,000); and state and local government education (+25,000). Quits decreased in real estate and rental 
and leasing (-23,000). The number of quits increased in the South and Midwest regions. (See table 4.)

In August, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges were little changed at 1.3 million and 0.9 
percent, respectively. Layoffs and discharges decreased in other services (-61,000) and in state and local 
government, excluding education (-22,000). Layoffs and discharges increased in state and local 
government education (+19,000). Layoffs and discharges were little changed in all four regions. (See 
table 5.)

The number of other separations edged up in August to 390,000 (+49,000). Other separations increased 
in several industries with the largest increases in state and local government education (+13,000); 
information (+11,000); and durable goods manufacturing (+8,000). The other separations level increased 
in the West region. (See table 6.) 

Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net 
employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of 
hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. 
Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even 
if the hires level is steady or rising.

Over the 12 months ending in August 2021, hires totaled 72.6 million and separations totaled 66.7 
million, yielding a net employment gain of 5.9 million. These totals include workers who may have been 
hired and separated more than once during the year.

Establishment Size Class

In August, the job openings rate decreased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees. The hires 
rate decreased in large establishments with 250-999 employees. The layoffs and discharges rate 
decreased in medium establishments with 50-249 employees. The other separations rate decreased in 
large establishments with 1,000-4,999 employees. For a more in-depth description of the JOLTS 
establishment size class estimates, please visit www.bls.gov/jlt/sizeclassmethodology.htm.

_____________	
The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for September 2021 are scheduled to be 
released on Friday, November 12, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
|				Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact					|
|			      Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Data				|
|													|
|More information about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the JOLTS survey, including		| 
|information about the JOLTS estimation methodology, is available at www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-    |
|covid-19-pandemic-on-job-openings-and-labor-turnover-data.htm						|
|_______________________________________________________________________________________________________|

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smartsets.

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