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Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey

JOLTS Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Research Estimates

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) estimates are based on a national sample of approximately 16,000 establishments. These data are used by policymakers, academics, industry experts, economists, and others to better understand the current state of the U.S. economy and to understand the dynamic activity of businesses in the economy that lead to aggregate employment changes. While the current national sample size is designed to support estimates for major industries at the national level and total nonfarm estimates at the regional level, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is currently researching the possibility of leveraging the sample to produce model-assisted estimates at the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) total nonfarm level. These estimates are currently only available as a one-time release. The estimates are for the 18-largest MSAs, those with 1.5 million or more employees, as determined by Current Employment Statistics (CES) Metro Area Total Nonfarm (TNF) employment, see the table below. We encourage data users to review these estimates and provide feedback on both the technical aspects of the models and the usability of the resulting data.

18-Largest MSAs
MSA CodeArea Title


Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA


Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI


Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX


Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO


Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI


Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX


Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA


Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL


Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI


New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA


Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD


Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ


Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA


San Diego-Carlsbad, CA


San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA


Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA


Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV


Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH NECTA

These MSA research estimates are published as a historical series comprised of a benchmarked historical component (Composite Synthetic model) and a current component (Extended Composite Synthetic model) which provides monthly "real-time" estimates following lagged benchmarks.

  1. Composite Synthetic model: this model is used to provide benchmarked estimates for the entire history of the series through the previous year's benchmark—by incorporating data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).
  2. Extended Composite Synthetic model: this model is used to produce the current or most recent month-year of estimates by extending the Composite Synthetic model estimates for the most recent publication year.

JOLTS MSA Research Estimates Table A contains both models as a 3-month moving average. The estimates are presented as a combination of Composite Synthetic (CompSyn) and Extended Composite Synthetic (ECompSyn) estimates. More specifically, table A includes estimates from the CompSyn model from February 2001 to December 2018 and uses the ECompSyn model to extend the CompSyn model from January 2019 to December 2019.

Please note that BLS has no current plans to update these data, as they are meant to be a one-time research series. However, we encourage data users to provide feedback at


Both models take the following form:



  • J is a JOLTS data element: job openings; hires; total separations; quits; layoffs and discharges
  • w1 is a weight between 0 and 1 and w2=1−w1
  • D is a data-based estimate, as long as there are 5 or more sample units
  • M is a modeled estimate, either using a regional approach or a synthetic approach (both are described below)
  • Notes:
    • Estimates of J are developed at the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) supersector level.
    • Once the NAICS supersector estimates are developed for the region, using either model, the sum of the estimated MSA levels for the region are ratio adjusted to the regional level of the JOLTS data element.
    • Within each MSA, the ratio adjusted values of J are then aggregated across NAICS supersectors to the total nonfarm level.

Composite Synthetic Model



  • MS=a synthetic model that distributes hires to all businesses that increase employment, and separations to all businesses that lose employment, such that the hires and separations equal regional totals. All other JOLTS data elements are then modeled relative to these data elements:
    • Synthetic job openings are a function of the ratio of industry-regional job openings and hires. This ratio of published job openings to hires is applied to model hires estimates to derive model job opening estimates. Ratio-adjusting the JOLTS model hires and separations to the regional published JOLTS hires and separations estimates ensures that the JOLTS published churn rate is fully accounted for.
    • Synthetic quits and layoffs and discharges are a function of the relative percentage of the individual components of total separations at the industry-regional level. The relative percentages of each component is applied to the model separations estimates to derive model quits and layoffs and discharges.

Extended Composite Synthetic Model

Extended Composite Synthetic Model formula


  • extended composite synthetic MSA industry estimate for month t is the Extended Composite Synthetic MSA industry estimate for month t
  • composite synthetic MSA industry estimate for month t-12 is the Composite Synthetic MSA industry estimate for month t-12 (one year ago)
  • composite regional MSA industry estimate for month t is the Composite Regional MSA industry estimate for month t
  • composite regional MSA industry estimate for month t-12 is the Composite Regional MSA industry estimate for month t-12 (one year ago)

The Composite Synthetic MSA industry estimate from one year ago is extended by adjusting that estimate by the ratio of the current Composite Regional model estimate to the Composite Regional model estimate from one year ago. The Extended Composite Synthetic MSA industry estimates are summed across industry to form an Extended Composite Synthetic MSA estimate.

This approach ensures that the extended composite synthetic MSA estimates reflect current JOLTS regional and industry level economic conditions.

A more complete description of both models can be found on the JOLTS MSA Research Estimates Methodology page. Some common questions and answers can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page. For information on the experimental state estimates please visit our state estimates page.

Last Modified Date: July 31, 2020