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Handbook of Methods Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey Collections & Data Sources

Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey : Collections & Data Sources

The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) sampling frame is made up of establishments from two sources: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program (QCEW) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

The QCEW database contains establishments that cover approximately 95 percent of jobs in the United States. This database is a compilation of administrative data from state unemployment insurance (UI) programs and federal government establishments covered by the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) program.

A frame of railroad establishments is provided by the FRA. This is added to the QCEW database to complete the JOLTS sampling frame. Establishments are assigned industry codes based on the North American Industry Classification Standard (NAICS).

Data collection scope

JOLTS has a sample of approximately 21,000 units. Establishments are included or excluded from the sample frame based on the following set of criteria.

In-scope establishments. All nonagricultural industries, except private households, and establishments that provide agricultural services within the agriculture industry are classified as in-scope establishments for the JOLTS program. In addition to the private sector, JOLTS selects a public sector sample of federal, state, and local government units.

Out-of-scope establishments. The following types of establishments are classified as out-of-scope for the JOLTS program:

  • Establishments that are out of business

  • Establishments with an invalid NAICS code (000000 or 999999) or a missing code

  • Agricultural establishments (NAICS 11), except logging (NAICS 1133)

  • Private households (NAICS 814110)

  • Establishments with no legal name or trade name

  • Establishments outside of the 50 states and the District of Columbia

  • Establishments that report zero employment for the most recent 6 months on the sampling frame

Data collection process

JOLTS data are collected at a data collection center in Atlanta, GA. Interviewers (also called data collectors) refine the addresses and contact information for their assigned sample units (establishments). An enrollment package is mailed to the establishment, and the interviewer follows up by telephone to solicit participation. Once an establishment is enrolled, data collection begins.

Data are collected from respondents every month. Initial data collection takes place via Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) for approximately 5 months. This allows the respondent time to learn the JOLTS data elements and definitions and establishes monthly reporting. After this period of CATI collection, the respondent is encouraged to move to self-reporting, and they can choose to report by web, or email for the remainder of their time.

Respondents are provided a data collection form to assist them in determining the values of the data elements they report. Specially designed forms are provided to respondents for education establishments or temporary help and employee-leasing establishments.

Data review process

All reported data are reviewed at two levels. The review ensures, to the degree possible, that the data adhere to JOLTS definitions and reference periods.

The first level of data review is conducted after reported data have been input into the web collection system and into the CATI system and processed electronically through a series of system checks. Any data that fails the system checks are flagged for the data collection center staff to review.

The second level of review is performed by JOLTS staff at the BLS national office. Reported data pass through a second round of screening based on a different set of criteria to check for common problems and potential errors.

Last Modified Date: October 19, 2022