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Developing a New Business Survey: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey at the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Charlotte Mueller and John C. Wohlford


The U.S. has had an indicator of labor supply, the unemployment rate, for decades. However, there has been no parallel labor demand measure. In 1999, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began developing this indicator, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). JOLTS will measure job openings, hires, and separations from a sample of 16,000 establishments. This paper discusses survey goals, concepts, sampling procedures, collection techniques, estimation, and publication plans. It also reviews research conducted in the development of JOLTS. An important goal for JOLTS is providing job openings estimates comparable to the unemployment rate from the Current Population Survey.